The Commonwealth rugby sevens let down

By Shamseer Jaleel

The shorter version of the Rugby in Sri Lanka was left without excuses when they were thrashed in all their five outings in Commonwealth Games in New Delhi-India. In the group outings the youngsters which almost could be called a development side were beaten in one way traffic by England at 59-7, Australia at 42-5 and in the Last group stage game against the hard running Ugandan outfit at 35-5.

After being placed last in the group the Lankan lads were to battle it out for the Bowl Quarter finals against the Pacific Islanders Papua New Guinea. Here too the going was tough as they were beaten by 36-12.

New Zealand once again maintained their untarnished record at the Commonwealth Games from its inception in 1998. They got the better of Australia 24-17 in a late second half burst. This was also “All Blacks” Fourth consecutive gold at Commonwealth Games and continue their unbeaten record from Malaysia to Birmingham and then Melbourne.

Secretary of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) Shane Dullewa speaking to the Sunday Times said that our preparation for the tournament was good but was very unfortunate to loose the four Kandy SC players in the caliber of Mohamed Sheriff, Saliya Kumara, Pradeep Liyanage and Fazil Marija who could walk in to any International side without much effort.

“Had these guys been there, they would have given lot of confidence for the youngsters but everything is history now. Also injury for the players was a main concern. Anyway in the end it was a good outing for the youngsters who will be the future of Sri Lanka`s Sevens Rugby. On the other hand if the seniors were there these young lads would have never got a chance to represent their country”.

Dullewa ended by saying “we had no option but to play in this much important tournament. In case we pulled out of this then we will not get an invitation for the next outing in Scotland 4 years later”.
The Sri Lankans will vie for honours in next month’s Malaysian Sevens which will decide the first 6 teams for the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens which will take place for the 34th consecutive year from its inception in 1976 at Causeway Bay –Hong Kong in 2011.

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