ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 42

Lankan club rugby gets ‘spiritual energy’

Vimal Perera

The shorter version of the game now known as the QI Pro Seven will kick off on the 17th and 18th of March at Longdon Place and at the University Grounds in Colombo. It is expected that twelve teams will vie for the top slot while there are twenty fur teams in the bottom league. In the bottom league there are a number of new comers who will be adding colour to the game. It is encouraging to see more teams taking the field.

The shorter version of the game now known as the QI Pro Sevens kicked off yesterday - Pic by Ranjith Perera

The sevens come two weeks prior to Sri Lanka taking wing to play in the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens. This will give another opportunity fro the selectors to have a look at the hopefuls.

At the beginning of the week there were whispers of doubt as to whether the sevens will take place. Fears in the minds of some were reasonable as the earlier sponsor ‘Singer” was moving out. To fill in the vacuum, that was thought to be there, stepped in QI.

QI Ltd gets its name from the Chinese character – Qi or Ch'i which means ‘vapour' or ‘spiritual energy' literally. Ch'i is the universal breath or energy now blowing in the form of funds the game needs. QI will not only sponsor the Pro Sevens they will also support the Sri Lanka Sevens team to Hong Kong.

Sports sponsorship is not new to them. It is only that rugby is a new to their list. Qi has been with sports and have sponsored some key events. These include the International Badminton Federation World Championship, in Birmingham in 2003. The 2006 warm up matches of Brazil prior to the soccer world cup. They also supported the new v6 Champion ‘Marchee’ from Hong Kong. This is the Asian equivalent of the formula 3 races. . The identification of themselves with sports that promote agility, speed quick reflexes and team work is in synergy with the values of the group. Rugby according to John Challen the Group Legal Counsel is a natural extension of their culture and provides instant synergy.

With a sponsor found and willing to spend to foster rugby in Sri Lanka there is a message that has to be taken notice of. It is not only to be taken notice of but also to be developed to attain more prominence for the sport. The message is that the game of rugby is a marketable product. Yet what has to be understood is that for it to remain a product that is in demand they have to deliver to meet the expectations. This includes playing t he game on improved standards and also keeping out irritants that can mar the game. There should not be instances of disruption and or occurrences that give negative feed back. The responsibility in this aspect lies with the participants, these include the clubs the coaches and the players. The SLRFU can organize events and find the sponsors. Taking the game to the next level depends on the support of the participants. The sponsor has expectations when he spends.While the game spreads and the Union expands its wings the schools rugby is still boiling and marinating in a pot of uncertainty. The pot needed seem to be getting bigger by the day. The question is not only when but also how the schools season will start. Why not an invitation tournament some seem to ask. It is a sad state when a game that is enjoyed and played by many schoolboys is left to balancing in the wind. Can the SLRFU get talking to the schools section and sort out the issue so that the game should go on.

The problem is whether those in charge of the schools want to talk to the governing body. The trend that has been set in the past is that the schools are independent and is governed by the Education Ministry. No argument about that. They are governed and should be that way. As a sport rugby is promoted in Sri Lanka by the SLRFU. It is here that the SLRFU gets into the scene. To advise those who are responsible to run the affairs in a manner that will uplift the game. It is for those who want to have control to keep that control. But more prudent will be to seek advice and guidance for betterment from those who are responsible for the sport in the country.

The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual is known as synergy, It is this interaction between the schools rugby authorities and the SLRFU that is needed to mange and take the game forward to higheq levels.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.