ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 2, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 14

Kandy sevens crashlanding?

By Harry Jayachandra

Rob Yule

Now it seems that the Kandy rugby sevens which is scheduled to be kicked off next week-end in Kandy could be a non-starter. The International Rugby Board (IRB) has thrown a spanner in to the works of the Singer International Rugby tournament which is also an IRB Satellite Tournament. Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) speaking from Korea said told The Sunday Times that the IRB was asking for an independent security report before releasing funds for the tournament. At the time of going to Press, Fernando was back at the meeting which was called at the eleventh hour.

President of the SLRFU Nimal Lewke said: “I sent a detailed report this morning with pictures of the perahera and the dignitaries who were present. If they want an independent report they should send a representative like the International Cricket Council does. I sent letter from the National Security Council. The IRB should understand that we are also a member International Permanent Observatory. Thus we oversee security for international events. The only other member nations of this organization are France, England and USA. In addition I also stated that it was only a part of bomb that was found in Kandy and it could have placed there by some mischief maker. I rushed to office a short while ago because the chairman of the organizing committee told me that the IRB wanted my letter faxed on one of my letterheads. I reiterate the fact that we are the best people to evaluate the security situation and I honestly do not understand what all the fuss is about.”

Hence if all goes well Sri Lankan Airlines and Singer (Sri Lanka) will host the ninth international Singer Sri Lankan Airlines Rugby Sevens tournament this year, as fans and rugby fanatics flock to the island’s hill country to savour the excitement.

The countries scheduled to participate are: Arabian Gulf, China , Cambodia , Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Korea , Kazakhstan , Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka .

The popular rugby tournament will kick off at the Nittawela Rugby Stadium in Kandy on September 7 and will be continued on September 8 and 9.

Manager of the Sri Lankan team Rob Yule said: “I believe that we have made good progress. We have worked on individual skills and sevens skills. Thanks to the President’s Trophy being postponed the boys had more time to prepare for the sevens following the 15-a-side league tournament. It generally takes them about two to three days to adjust to the new format. Two things that we worked on very hard were thinking a phase ahead and not turning over the ball at the contact point.”

He added: “One thing I noticed last year was we had a flat line. We have addressed that problem also. The boys now play as a cohesive unit. We also did a lot of speed training and believe me that is not easy. Without putting undue pressure on the team I would like to say that we want to go one better than we did last year.”

Leading household brand SINGER, national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines and the Kandy Sports Club will join together to host the event, under the auspices of Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.

The tournament will also host teams from local schools to play alongside the international tournament. Schools invited to play are: Kingswood College, St. Anthony’s, Vidyartha, St. Sylvesters, Isipathana, Ananda College, St. Peter’s, S. Thomas ’s Mt Lavinia, Dharmaraja College , Zahira College, Thurstan and Wesley College.

School authorities said that despite their pleas the amount of 10,000 rupees given to them each year from the inception of the tournament would not be changed this year. However, the organizers had said they would look to increase it next year.

The Sri Lanka squad has in their ranks the following; Dilanka Wijesekera, Dushantha Lewke, Pradeep Liyanage (Captain), Fazil Marija, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Lasantha and Ashan De Costa, Ashan Karthelis, Amjad Buksh, Radhika Hettiarachchi, Saliya Kumara and Mohommad Jabbar.

The international teams will fly to Sri Lanka courtesy of SriLankan Airlines. Other sponsors of the event include Rolls Royce, Airbus Industries, SITA, Haesl, IAE International, CFM, John Keells Elephant House, Lion Brewery and Amaya Resorts.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.