Sri Lanka banks on performances at
Asian Games rugby to earn invitation for Hong Kong Sevens
By Ravi Nagahawatte
Lanka plans to impress the organizers of the IRB Sevens Series
by doing well at the upcoming rugby sevens which is a discipline
at the Asian Games which will be held in Doha Qatar from
Sri Lanka’s sevens team has failed to impress the hosting
nations that have rights to organize the eight legs that
comprise the IRB Sevens Series which is also known as the Sevens
World Cup. As a result the island nation’s rugby players haven’t
been extended invitations to play in the IRB Sevens Series
during the past two years.
Dilroy Fernando, CEO of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU),
told The Nation that the country’s chances of being invited for
a few legs of the Sevens Series would be great if the team
performed well at the Asian Games.
The IRB Sevens Series comprises eight legs and Sri Lanka filled
one of the slots available to Asian teams at the Hong Kong leg
of the Sevens Series before its name was knocked off the
invitation list after its last appearance in 2003. Sri Lanka
suffered heavy defeats in the 2003 edition of the Hong Kong
Sevens at the hands of South Africa (54-0), Scotland (38-0),
South Korea (50-0) and USA (34-7). According to Fernando most of
the Asian teams are on a standby list and are invited according
to the wishes of the host nations which conduct the tournaments
in the series.
However, Fernando is quite optimistic that Hong Kong will extend
Sri Lanka an invitation for next year’s tournament. “The SLRFU
is liaising with the Hong Kong Rugby Union. We are pretty sure
of being invited again,” said Fernando.
Fernando said that none of the Asian teams had been invited for
the first leg of the Sevens Series scheduled in Dubai because it
clashed with the dates of the sevens tournament at the Asian
Games. The second leg of the Sevens Series will be held during
the second week of December in South Africa.
Sri Lanka’s rugby, at present, in both forms of the game is on a
high after solid performances at the 15-a-side World Cup
qualifiers and an international sevens tournament that the
island nation hosted in Kandy this year. Sri Lanka’s rugby
officials have given rugby a shot in the arm by contacting all
its players and obtaining the services of a foreign coach.