For the first time in the history of Johor rugby the southern state will field a women’s team in the NAZA National Seven Series 2018 to be held at the EduCity Sports Complex in Iskandar Puteri from March 10-11.

“This is the pioneer Johor women’s team competing in the tournament…this is the first for Johor rugby,” Johor Rugby Union president Mohd Noorazam Osman announced on Thursday.

“In the past we had women rugby players from Johor playing rugby in tournaments and competitions elsewhere because we had no team. But that has changed now.

“This time we will have a team from Johor competing in the Naza National Sevens in the women’s category. We are proud of this achievement as we continue develop and promote the sport in the state.”

The second series of the NAZA National Seven kicksoff in Melaka on Saturday (Mar 3-4). The grand finale will be played in Ipoh on March 24-25.

The new Seven-a-Side tournament is to unearth new talent to beef up the national squad after Malaysia won the gold medal in men’s category in last year’s KL2017 Sea Games while the women’s won the bronze.

For the record national players are not allowed to play in the Sevens which will allow coaches to spot new talent.

The second series at EduCity is co-organized by the Johor Rugby Union and the Johor Sports Council. EduCity and Iskandar Investment came forward as venue and accommodation sponsors.

The teams participating in the men’s category are Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Armed Forces.

The six teams in the women’s category are Selangor, Kedah, Perak, Johor, Terengganu and Armed Forces.

The champions in the men’s category will pocket RM2,000 in prize money with the runners-up taking home RM1,500. Third place is worth RM1,000 and fourth RM700. The best player in the same category will get RM300.

The prize money for the women’s category is RM1,300 with runners-up going home RM900 richer. The Plate champion wins RM500 while the runners-up gets RM300. The best women’s player will get RM200.

Johor are known powerhouse in rugby in the country. The 15-a-side team is ranked number one in the country while in the seven-a-side Johor is ranked in the top four. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH

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