Auckland, September 14, 2021
The India Jungle Cats (IJCRL) Rugby League team has been invited to participate in a historic match showcasing the best Ethnic Rugby League talent in New Zealand.
The match, sanctioned by the New Zealand Rugby League will be held on October 17, 2021 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland as a curtain-raiser to the NZRL Clubs vs Schools Rep game.
Both games will be televised on Sky TV.
This will be an invitational team rather than the actual National Rep team as the organisers will featuring Indian League players from across the Diaspora rather than just players only eligible from the Sub-Continent i.e., Fijian born.
Nurturing new talent
The India Jungle Cats Invitational Team, featuring ten international players, will take on an Asian selection, comprising both international representatives and members of the powerful Eagles/Dragons squads who have dominated the Ethnic Rugby League (ERL) competition over the last five seasons.
It will highlight the incredible strides that this competition has taken since it began in 2013 to develop and nurture new talent from diverse, non-traditional league cultures.
This will be an invitational team rather than the actual national rep team as we will be featuring Indian league players from across the diaspora rather than just players only eligible from the sub-continent i.e., Fijian born. But it will be a very strong team and we are looking forward to a great match.
The India Jungle Cats are a direct result of that development and whilst they are working towards IRL member status, they are generally regarded as the international representative team for India Heritage League players.
After playing with the Indian Tigers at the prestigious Cabramatta World 9s Tournament in 2016 and 2017, former Indian Newslink Rugby League Player of the Year Joshua Naidu set about creating the initial IJC squad in 2018 with players from Australia and the USA.
Opportunity for Indian players
National Coach Tony Tietie said that the purpose of this team was to create an international representative opportunity for Indian players.
He said that while Covid-19 has hampered the Team’s efforts to be physically in India, an office and a board have been established to begin the process.
“In terms of on-field performance, however, two historic and IRL sanctioned wins against world-ranked South American countries in 2019 have created a real interest amongst the other developing nations with many requests for matches once borders open. The New Zealand-based players are currently preparing for a historic match against an Asian invitational team in October 2021 and boast both former and up-and-coming NRL talent in the player roster,” he said.
Tietie said that this has been successfully achieved with two exciting wins over world-ranked teams Colombia and the Latin Heat Amalgamated squad.
“Our main aim of this match is to encourage more Indian boys and girls of all ages to start playing at ERL and Club level and hopefully one day they can represent India through the Jungle Cats on the world stage,” he said.
Tietie said that the Team is seeking sponsorship to finance the forthcoming match and other events planned.
“Although we are in the midst of a global pandemic, there are major costs that need to be covered. essential costs including accommodation, medical support, transport and full teamwear including playing strip,” he said.
He appealed to organisations and individuals to consider sponsoring the Team.
“Our Sponsorship is available at three levels. (a) Blue Package: $1000-$3000 including Jersey Sleeve Logo placement, all off-field teamwear (b) Gold Package: $3000-$5000 including Jersey Back Logo placement, Shorts Back Logo placement, all off-field teamwear (c) Black Package: $5000 Upwards including Jersey Front Logo placement, Shorts Front Logo placement, all off-field teamwear, player and staff availability to promotional events