Unlike its Georgian neighbor, Armenia has seen its practice of rugby decline to become anecdotal, especially because of a national federation accused of corruption. The association Armenia rugby union team wants to put this sport back in fashion and restore confidence to the Armenians in this sport.
At the time of the Soviet bloc, Armenia was rugby champion in the USSR. Since then, Armenian rugby, supported by a national federation accused of embezzlement, has fallen into inactivity. The last match of the national team dates from 2012. In 2013, the national federation closed its site, before being banned from the European federation, in 2014, for inactivity. Determined to give Armenian rugby acclaim, Hrach and Sahak set up an association dedicated to replacing this federation, which now exists only officially but whose activity has stopped.
The first is used in the construction of roads, the second architect. They have rugby in their blood. Both are co-presidents and founders of the Armenia rugby union team. ” Our goal is to make rugby popular again, to put it back in fashion, ” said Sahak confidently. Smiling bearded, his eyes sparkle as he evokes their project.
They started at ten, three years ago. They are now a small thirty, including ten young people. ” Our goal is to become the official national rugby federation in Armenia, ” says Sahak. ” Today, people do not even know if there is a rugby federation ,” he laments. Blame it on its president, who is, according to both rugbymen, responsible for the departure of the players of the national team and the disappearance of Armenia from the world stage.
“We want people to be no more disappointed with rugby”
” If the good traditions had been respected, if we had a competent federation, we would have the level to face the All Blacks “, regrets Hrach. ” If all goes well, it will take us ten years to return to the international scene ,” says his comrade. Ten years is the time they give to eight-year-olds to reach the age of majority. ” We want to develop a modern rugby by welcoming new people, young people, ” explains Hrach. ” In a serious match, I could not play, ” he adds from his top forty.
In the meantime, the mission of the two co-presidents is to show their seriousness and attractiveness so that the government grants them the position of official national federation. ” We want people to be no more disappointed with rugby, we want to give them hope, ” Sahak hopes. And their approach begins to work: ” We have many people who come to us, who ask us when can they play with us, ” he said.
But the shadow of the president of the current federation, appointed when his brother was mayor of Yerevan, closes many doors. ” Between those who do not know anything about rugby, who believe that we will fight, and those who are afraid of this man, it’s been three years since we move from local to local, ” Sahak collapses. ” But we are rugby players, we will get there ,” adds his teammate. Their jerseys are even already drawn and both say they are ready to leave their trades as soon as they can live (even “survive”) rugby.