Germany have become one of the first countries outside of Asia to play international rugby in Iran, following a triangular women’s tournament at the Saipa Stadium in Tehran, on 2 November.

The German women’s U20s side finished third, with the Iranian national team and the U17s placed first and second. Germany’s ambassador to Iran, Michael Klor-Berchtold, was among the spectators who were present.

The tournament came about as part of a youth-exchange programme between Germany and Iran organised by the European-wide association Bürger Europas e.V, with financial support coming from the German Foreign Office.

Links between the two countries in rugby terms began just under 12 months ago, in December 2016, when Iran’s women’s U21 side visited Berlin to play in a sevens tournament.

And the hope is that after the successful return visit by the Germans, the relationship between the two nations will only grow stronger.

“The aim was to build a contact between Iran and Germany through sports and try to build a friendship between Iranian and German women,” said Martina Michalski, project coordinator, Bürger Europas e.V.

“Both sides were very pleased to get together and have the chance to communicate and train and play games together.”

The Tehran-based tournament also helped to mark the 10th anniversary of the birth of rugby in Iran back in 2007, then under the auspices of the Iranian Rugby Federation (IRF).

Since 2011 the National Sports Association has governed the development of rugby in Iran and the numbers of female participants in Get Into Rugby activities have grown exponentially, from just 40 in the initial year of the programme in 2014 to 2,381 in 2016.