ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 29

Rugby to be more professional next year

Nimal Lewke

“We are hoping to offer a prize of one million rupees for the winners of each of the two knock out tournaments we will be conducting next year,” said President of Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) Nimal Lewke. The two tournaments are the Clifford Cup and the Super League for the President’s Trophy.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Lewke said: “We have already made plans for next year. I have appointed a committee headed by Asanga Seneviratne to identify players who will be contacted by the SLRFU. They will be given a higher wage than this year. This is a duel purpose move. Firstly the player concerned can attend national practice at least once a week. The other reason is we noticed that some player’s were more loyal to their club than country. This should sort out that problem. While we are offering an attractive cash prize for the knock out tournaments, we are also going to make it mandatory that at least 75 per cent of the prize money is given back to the players.”

The club rugby season begins as early as February with three sevens tournaments”. Lewke added: “We felt that it was better to have a sevens circuit and then pick a squad for the Hong Kong tournament. We believe that this is better option that just having a training program. This another reason why we are contracting players because we also have the Asian Championship which we must win, the Singer Sevens and maybe another one or two tournaments. Thus the national coach can coordinate with the respective club coaches. I am in the process of writing to all the clubs in this regard. In order to give our players more international exposure, I have managed to get five places in Japan and two in England. The selected seven players will be given the opportunity play club rugby with some of the best in the world. There may also be some places in New Zealand. This year we sent five coaches for training overseas and we will be doing the same thing next year as well.”

There have been rumours floating around about financial discrepancies at the recently concluded Asiad. Lewke’s response was: “I have appointed a committee to check everything from the hotel bills to transport. I do not want any one to turn around and say somebody pocketed money. I am awaiting the committee’s report.”

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Youth Team got off to a bright start at the Youth Asiad. After trailing by six points to nil at lemons to Thailand, the Lankans came back strongly to triumph by 12 points to 6. Skipper Dayan Weeraratne and hooker Bilal Hassan touched down while centre Harsha Weerakkody converted one of the tries. Reports from Brunei state that Sri Lanka could have scored much more had it not been for handling errors. But overall the team had played well and go in to their semi final clash with Hong Kong tomorrow with confidence. – HJ

Top to the page

Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and the source.
© Copyright 2007 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.