Karate girls try out for Japan's rugby team

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese women’s rugby team for the 2016 Olympics could be made up of a fearsome mixture of rough-and-tumble martial arts experts.

The karate-kicking hopefuls were joined by judoka among a total of 88 women who took part in a tryout for the Japan Women’s Rugby Football Federation at the weekend.

“I thought the scrum and tackling looked so cool,” former world junior karate champion Aya Waterhouse told Monday’s Nikkan Sports.

“The way the players go at each other is great. It’s a new challenge,” added the part-time actress, who is studying to be a hair and make-up artist. “The Olympics are awesome!”

Rugby sevens was last October included in the Olympic schedule from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro alongside golf.

Handball player Chika Oshima also took part in the tests which included passing, handling and kicking drills.

“I’d love to represent Japan,” she said. “I couldn’t manage it with handball so I’ll do it at rugby.”

The next round of trials are scheduled to take place later this month and again in April.

Reporting by Alastair Himmer. Editing by Justin Palmer