in full bloom
Kandy SC Int. 7s has propped Lankan rugby
By Bernie Wijesekera
With the throbbing of the magul bera, the popular Singer-SriLankan
Airlines Int. Rugby 'Sevens' will kick-off for the fourth successive
year from September 13 to 15, at the Bogambara Stadium, Kandy.
of this prestigious tournament since its inception (1999) has assured
of its continuity. This was revealed at a media briefing held at
Hotel Lanka Oberoi. Singer and SriLankan Airlines could be tagged
as inseparable twins when it comes to promoting sports and for its
upliftment in this little Isle of Paradise.
old Royalists scrummed down to make it a reality, namely rugby promoter
Malik Smarawickrema and Hemaka Amerasuriya, the sports promoting
Chairman of Singer (Sri Lanka) Pvt. Ltd.
who addressed the gathering said, the organisers and the originators
of this great happening (tournament) Kandy SC with a stupendous
team effort has not only done proud for Sri Lanka rugby but uplifted
its image to reach greater heights in the years ahead. With several
hands joining the scrum nothing is impossible in any walk of life.
Today rugby in the Hill Capital is in full bloom, thanks to its
unstinted team effort.
Peter Hill (the
Chief Executive Officer, SriLankan Airlines), one of the title sponsors
along with Singer has helped to keep this tournament alive since
1999 under trying conditions. The national airline has been committed
to promoting sports in the country. This year should be better with
the prospect of peace in the offing for everyone to enjoy a better
Peter Hill assured
that the national carrier will be in the forefront in its continuity.
George Simpkin, the rugby consultant in Kandy SC said, this year's
tournament will be more competitive than in previous years. There
are 16 teams with two newcomers - Portugal and Kenya. In the past,
rugby was confined to a few selected nations, unlike today. But
today its rugby wings have spread far and wide with affiliate members
enrolled (like the ICC cricket) to develop the game among minnows.
It was in 1986
that the IRB opened its gates to smaller nations. Imagine smaller
nations with smaller populations. Tonga and Fiji are keeping the
game alive. They are a force to be reckoned with in the 7s circuit.
It took them
100 years to make this breakthrough. Today, over 100 nations have
taken to the sport. The H.K. 'sevens' was started in 1976. At present
it's a much looked forward to event in the calendar.
Iswan Omar, secretary, organising committee of the 7s tournament
said that this prestigious tournament with the blessings of the
SLRFU could be tagged as one of the greatest events in the local
rugby scene. Modelled in the lines of the H.K. 'sevens' it has taken
a firm grip here since 1999.
Sri LankanAirlines today are playing a dynamic role as title sponsors.
Le Kandyan Resort with their rugby loving director, Arjun Dharmadasa
will be accommodating the teams and officials. It's a fine gesture
by Connaissance for giving this support.
There are many more who have joined the scrum, John Keells Ltd.,
Elephant House Beverages, Carlsberg and Lion Brewery.
The schools section which will run concurrently with the Int. tournament
teams who have confirmed: Ananda, Combined Ruhuna, Dharmaraja, Isipatana,
Kingswood, Kurunegala Prov. Union, Matale Prov. Union, Royal, St.
Peter's, St. Sylvester's, S. Thomas', St. Anthony's Katugastota,
Sabaragamuwa Prov. Union, Trinity, Vidyartha, Wesley.
The draw - Pool 'A': Chinese Taipei, Denmark, S'pore, Czech Republic,
'B': Portugal, Arabian Gulf, Hong Kong, Malaysia, 'C': Germany,
Netherlands, Kenya, China. 'D': S. Korea, Sri Lanka, Belgium, India.
Besides the school matches, a women's exhibition match will add
colour to the three-day rugby fiesta.Two foreign Int. referees too
will officiate. Johnatha Chaplan (S. Africa) and Bret Faxon (New
Chandana P. Abeygun-awardena, the former Royal, CR and FC and Sri
Lanka scrumhalf, who also led the country has been appointed national
coach in preparation for the forthcoming 14th Asian Rugby Asiad
to be staged in S. Korea.
C.P. has a storehouse of knowledge and experience, be it as a player,
coach or administrator. He has coached Royal, CR and the Lankan
team in the past with much success. At present he is handling the
high-riding Kandy SC with George Simpkin (as Consultant). His appointment
by the Rugby Union should be lauded. A firm disciplinarian 'with
a no-nonsense' from whatever quarter he commands respect.
Group Capt. Nalin de Silva, Secretary SLRFU, C.P. will be meeting
the National players on Aug. 5, at the CR and FC at 5.30 p.m. with
their respective senior club, and school coaches and the national
selectors to discuss the format in preparation for the forthcoming
It will be on
matters pertaining to training and other requirements of the players.
Another old Royalist, Bryan Baptist has been apponinted as Manager
for the Asian Games in Busan, Korea, 2002.
Bryan at present
is a national selector. A keen student of the game, he played for
Royal as a hardy forward, captained CH and FC and represented Sri
Lanka. He has contributed much for the game in many ways. He was
the technical advisor to the Royal College rugby team in year 2000.
Navy team from 1987-89, when they emerged Clifford Cup finalists.
Earlier served in the National Selection Committee with Jayantissa
Ratwatte as Chairman. Bryan has served in the SLRFU Disciplinary
Committee for many years. -BW
out to stop Kandy's winning spree?
By Aubrey Kuruppu
A sense of deja vu has overtaken the Caltex A Division League tournament,
of late. This strange feeling has been occasioned by Kandy Sports
Club's continued, quenchable desire for invincibility and also by
the inexplicable malaise that has stricken their toughest rivals
the CR & FC.
At the moment,
Kandy SC are out on a limb untouchable, unstoppable and unreachable.
The CR having dropped their last two games, the gap between the
leading teams is a yawning one. The winners of the league are good
as decided. The only interest left is in seeing how much and to
what extent teams like the Police, the Army and, yes, the CR can
trouble and torment, harry and hustle the champions in their return
The first of
these games - the one against the Police - takes place today at
Nittawela. The Police team had been threatening stirring deeds in
the first round but possibly under achieved a little bit. The second
round sees them primed for battle and todate their results have
been impressive. One hopes that they will rise to the occasion and
give as good as they get. Another resounding win for Kandy will
only add to the monotony.
That said, the
task before the Police is a gigantic one. Kandy SC the champions
because they have few clinks in their armour. Well served by a superfluity
of Sri Lanka players, Kandy's reserve strength is probably the envy
of most clubs. Almost all of Kandy's games this season have not
been close encounters. In such an eventuality the kicking talents
of Weerakkody should fill the scales their way.
it should be noted that Weerakkody's counterpart Police full back
Harshana Wijeweera, has also been kicking accurately. The hard work
put in by coach Masso has begun to pay dividends. The forwards are
a set of bustling, hard-working players. With an improved back division,
Police now appear a more complete side.
The Police may
find Kandy SC a tough nut to crack, especially at Nittawela. Thus
victory may seem out of the question. But if the law-enforces can
take the fight to Omar, Basnayake, Bandaranaike, Jayasinghe and
company. Spectators will be assured of red-hot sizzling rugby.
to Kandy seems to have heightened Jayasinghes try -scoring powers.
Police would do well to manackle him (Locking him up could be in
their minds, too!) But there are plenty of lesser with evils who
could, if given their head, cause consternation.