ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 34

Rugby back to the old format

By Harry Jayachandra

The Caltex ‘A’ Division rugby tournament will revert back to its original format with all the teams competing in a league format as opposed to the two tier structure which was used last year. The only team that has not confirmed their participation is the combined Dimbulla-Dickoya outfit. The league tournament will begin in the last week of April. This is just one of the changes that has come in to effect following the change in administration of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.

Nimal Lewke

Meanwhile Asanga Seneviratne has been appointed as chairman of the Development Committee. He replaces Y. C. Chang. New President of the SLRFU, DIG Nimal Lewke speaking to The Sunday Times said; “What many people do not realize is that when a new administration is elected all the committees that were appointed by the previous regime cease to exist. We have to appoint new committees. Seneviratne was chosen to head the Development Committee because in two years time he will probably take over from me. Thus it was the logical decision to appoint him. As for sevens tournament, we will be having the Radella Sevens in March and obviously the Singer International Sevens in September. With regard to any other sevens tournament we will have to have a close look at the calendar because we are reviving the Presidents Trophy this year.”

Lewke added that first round of the league tournament will be played on a round robin basis with the first six teams qualifying for the championship and the remaining battling it out for the plate. “There will be no ‘B’ Division tournament this year. Instead the teams concerned will be playing for the Rudra Rajasingham Memorial trophy. We will also be having the Provincial Tournament, but we will have to look at how to make it more competitive. I fully agree that last year’s tournament was a two horse race from the beginning,” said Lewke.

As is the case when a new administration comes in rumors fly around about sponsors pulling out etc.. The Sunday Times spoke to arguably the two biggest financial supporters of rugby namely Singer Sri Lanka and Caltex.

CEO of Caltex Kishu Gomez renewed his pledge to Sri Lankan rugby. “We have made a commitment to sponsor the league and the knockout and there will be no change in that. We also sponsored the under 23 and Provincial tournament. However, we have not decided about the Provincial tournament as yet. Personnel may change but our commitment is to rugby not any particular individual. What we would like to see is the game being popularized in the provinces”. Marketing Director of Singer Asitha Abeywickrema said his company had decided to down scale their sponsorship of rugby because of financial reasons and not as a result of a change in the administration. “Nimal Lewke is a good friend of mine. But due to financial reasons we will not be sponsoring the national team or continue with the Singer Professional Sevens circuit. Even in the sphere of advertising we have decided to make a few cut backs. However we will continue with our sponsorship of the Singer International Sevens, Kandy SC and the Bradby to name a few,’ said Abeywickrema in conclusion.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.