jerseys for Lankan expats
By Harry Jayachandra
In their bid to take Sri Lankan rugby to a higher plane the SLRFU
is eyeing the services of foreign nationals to don the Sri Lankan
jersey. “It is our vision. By the year 2015 we want to qualify
for the Rugby World Cup and also be the number one team in Asia,’
said the secretary of the SLRFU Dilroy Fernando.
The SLRFU have made a request to the Sports Minister to agree to
the above so that they could bring the standards of local rugby
to suit the gruelling international levels.
to International Rugby Board regulations a player can qualify to
play for country if he meets one of two criteria. The player concerned
has either to be resident in the specific country for three years
or his grandparents should from the country concerned.
on when foreign players represented local clubs, there were quite
a few who qualified because they had been in the country for more
than three years. Unfortunately due to a Sports Ministry ruling
they were unable to play.
Meanwhile other countries like Japan, Arabian Gulf, South Korea
to name a few have made giant strides in World Rugby thanks at least
in part to their foreigners. Even ultra conservative India is playing
Lanka have made some progress albeit painstakingly, to become sixth
in Asia. But to go up the ladder we do need foreigners. “We
have got several mails from players in Ireland, England and Australia.
Grandparents of these boys were from Sri Lanka and they want to
represent us. They are not asking for money or any other perks,
they just want to play for the love of the game and the country,”
added that once the Union gets the go ahead from the Minister they
would immediately begin identifying players to bring down. “I
do not see any reason why the Minister would refuse our request.
And once we do get these players, they would be used by the Union
not only to play rugby for Sri Lanka, but also to develop the game.
These guys could conduct coaching clinics in the outstations, help
our youth squads and so much more,’ he said.
Union is waiting for the okay before sitting with the tournament
committee and deciding on how best to integrate them into club rugby.
With regard to the long awaited disciplinary involving CH &
FC and Kandy, Fernando said that a decision would be taken later
this week and a press release issued with regard to the outcome.
all rugby lovers will now be waiting on the Minister’s decision.
With his approval perhaps Sri Lankan Rugby like cricket may finally
make its mark on the map of the world.