Sri Lanka to play Arabian Gulf and HK at home
By Shamseer Jaleel

Sri Lankan ruggerites will have a tough and tight schedule in 2011 as they will participate in the top division at the Asian 5 Nations Rugby Tournament. One side will play 4 matches - 2 at home and the same number of games away.

The national rugby players will commence practices very soon after the national selectors do their duty by selecting a side of 60 for the initial pool. Later on the pool will be reduced to 30 by March this year.
The national outfit will lock horns with Arabian Gulf and Hong Kong at home and later on tour to Almati to play the physical Kazakhstan outfit. The last encounter will be against Asian Number 1 side Japan who have already qualified for this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

In last year’s Asian 5 nations tournament Japan became champions winning all the games. Kazakhstan, Hong Kong and Gulf won 2 games a piece. Very surprisingly Korea lost all 4 games and got a demotion to Division 1 in the Asian Region.

Already Ronny Ibrahim, Viraj Prasanna and C.P Abeygunewardena have been appointed as Assistant Coaches of the side. Very likely the head coach position will be taken over by Kandy SC’s Johan Taylor.
Sri Lanka became champions at the Asia 5 Nations Division I tournament in Singapore last year. Sri Lanka beat Singapore by 23-16 in the final to gain promotion, after 11 years, to the Top 5 segment in Asian Rugby. The side was led by Kandy SC’s centre Pradeep Liyanage and was coached by Johan Taylor.

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