Foreign players allowed from next club rugby season
By Harry Jayachandra
Foreign players will be seen in action in the local club rugby season in 2009.
Foreign ruggerites may re-enter the fray next season. The Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union’s (SLRFU) Executive Council has unanimously ratified a proposal by outgoing President Nimal Lewke to explore the possibility of bringing down ruggerites especially from island nations such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga etc.

Lewke speaking to The Sunday Times said; “There some provisions that we have put in place. The players who are brought down must be 22 years old or younger. They must sign a three year contract and cannot crossover to different clubs during that period. The union is looking at the possibility of getting sponsors at least for air travel.”

He added; “The reason for the restrictions are two fold. In previous years whenever foreigners have played, it has not benefited Sri Lankan rugby in any way. If we get players from the age group mentioned above, following their three year stint, they will be eligible to play for Sri Lanka. If you look at any of the top rugby playing nations, they have foreign players in their ranks.

In fact the Southern Hemisphere teams send talent scouts to the Island nations to spot and recruit talented young ruggerites.” Said Lewke. “If we are to be competitive in the international arena, we need to get down some foreign players. The living conditions here are much better than where these guys are.

And by getting them fresh out of school, we will be giving them an opportunity to further both their studies and rugby playing careers. Thus it will be up to the tournament committee that will be elected following the SLRFU Annual General Meeting in March, to decide on how best to implement this decision.”
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