A reduced number of 33 teams will take part in the 45th Mercantile Rugby ‘Sevens’ 2015, conducted by the Mercantile Rugby Football Association (MRFA), to be held on 10th, 11th & 12th July at CR & FC grounds Longdon Place.

The tournament kicked off on Friday, 10th July, consisting 21 matches.

The bulk of the league matches will take place on Saturday, 11th July, commencing 9 am and will go on till 8 pm, consisting 41 matches.

The elimination round matches from quarter-finals onwards will take place on Sunday, 12th July from 9 am onwards. The grand “Cup” final scheduled to be played at 6.30 pm. The final day’s play will feature 20 matches including the four finals (Cup, Plate, Bowl & Shield) and an exhibition women’s match between Army and Air Force.

The draw for groupings was held at the CR&FC pavilion.

“Cup” Championship (5 teams)
Group “A”: MAS Holdings “A” (defending), Access Group (2014 runners-up), MAS Holdings “B”, John Keells “A” & “B” & Dialog Axiata “A”.

“Bowl” Championship (10 teams Pooled into 2 groups)
Group “B”: John Keells Group “B”, Kandurata Umbrella “A”, HSBC, Sri Lanka Insurance & Citizens Development Bank “Red”.

Group “C” : Citizens Development Bank “Blue”, Commercial Credit, Dialog Axiata “B”, Sampath Bank & Nations Trust Bank.

“Shield” Championship (18 teams pooled into 4 groups)
Group “D”: Janashakthi Insurance, NDB Bank “B”, Virtusa, Union Bank and Brandix Group
Group “E”: NDB Bank “A”, Gestetner (New), Attune Lanka, Millennium IT & Commercial Bank.

Group “F”: Ceylon Tobacco Co., Merchant Bank Sri Lanka, Hirdaramani Group & Pan Asia Bank.
Group “G”: Lughs Group (New), Expolanka Group, Kandurata Umbrella “B” & Kanrich Finance (New)

A notable absentee is the 2012 “Cup” winner & 2014 “Plate” Winner, Nation Lanka Finance. There is a further drop of teams (39 in 2014) this year probably due to the tournament being held during the Ramadan season.

John Keells Group still holds the record of most number of “Cup” wins (10), but their last win was recorded 14 years ago in 1999.

MAS Holdings the Cup Winner in 2010, 2011 & 2014 is tipped strongly to retain the title, but it is believed that Access Group will take them to the extreme, perhaps wrest back the title which they won in 2000. (LW)