Havelocks captain Sudarshana Muthuthantri was named captain of the Sri Lanka Seven’s team that will participate at the Asian Seven’s Series in Qingdao, China on 5th and 6th September. This was due to the regular captain Fazil Marija being injured and unable to participate.
The national selectors have also named a 12 man squad to represent Sri Lanka. This will include Kanchana Ramanayake as the only member from CR and FC.
Some new talented players in the calibre of CR & FC’s speedy three quarters Rochana Hettiarachchi and Kavindu Perera along with dashing forward Jason Dissanayake have been strangely omitted from the 12 man squad.
Rochana Hettiarachchi was adjudged as the up and coming player at the inter-club Sevens tournament and played really well in the Mercantile 7’s tournament as well.
One wonders why this trio from CR and FC have been left out to make way for players such as Kandy’s Shehan Pathirana and Srinath Sooriyabandara who didn’t even take part in the inter club Sevens tournament due to injuries.
The inclusion of these two players into the national side without even fielding in a local tournament raises the eyebrows of rugby fans. The criteria for selecting these two players is highly questionable as they have left out players who have performed well in recent tournaments. Are these two players selected because they represent a club with political clout?
Chairman of the selection committee Michael Jayasekera told The Nation that it is true that Pathirana and Sooriyabandara were injured during the Inter-Club Sevens tournament but they proved at practices that they are good enough to represent the country.
“The selection of these two players to the national team was taken based on a collective decision,” added Jayasekera. Injuries to experienced players such as Dinusha Chathuranga and Kavindu de Costa will set them aside from the trip to China.
Vishwamithra Jayasinghe and Nigel Ratwatte also from Kandy SC will miss this tournament due to personnel commitments. For the first time in this tournament the Sri Lankan team will be under the watchful eyes of new coach in former English national sevens sensation Matt Turner.
Sudarshana Muthuthantri (Captain), Sandun Herath, Dhanushka Ranjan, Dulaj Perera and Hirantha Perera of Havelock SC.
Kanchana Ramanayake of CR&FC.
Gayan Weeraratne, Anurudda Wilwara, Lavanga Perera, Richard Dharmapala, Srinath Sooriyabandara and Shehan Pathirana of Kandy SC.