Sri Lanka will get another opportunity to showcase their skills in the abbreviated version of rugby union when they contest the ‘Monaco Sevens’ in Monaco on June 18 and 19.
Sri Lanka’s performances at rugby sevens has come into praise over the last couple of years and this is a golden opportunity for the islanders to give a shot at qualifying for the rugby sevens event at the Rio Olympics, scheduled later this year.
According to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) the ‘Monaco Sevens’ is conducted as a Men’s Olympic Repachage Tournament aimed at picking a winner to complete the 12 teams that will vie for honours in a rugby sevens tournament in Rio.
Sri Lanka alongside Canada, Germany, Uruguay (Pool B), Samoa, Zimbabwe, Tonga, Ireland (Pool A), Russia, Chile, Morocco, Tunisia (Pool C), Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, South Korea (Pool D) will vie for honours at this tournament. Asian giants Japan has already qualified for the Rio Olympics.
The Sri Lanka side is led by forward Sudarshan Muthuthantri and also includes Dansha Jayan, Danushka Ranjan, Fazil Marija, Jason Dissanayake, Kanchana Ramanayake, Kavindu Perera, Roshan Weeraratne, Soyuru Anthony, Richard Dharmapala, Rochana Hettiarachchi and Srinath Sooriyabandara. It is encouraging to see the return of Marija back again doing national duty after he chose to be part of the Sri Lanka coaching team at the 2016 15-a-side Asian Five Nations. According to sources, the player has fully recovered from a back injury which curtailed his involvement in the 2016 domestic rugby tournament.
The SLRFU has opted to hire foreign coach Mathew Turner who will have the services of Rohan Chinthaka (Manager) and Amith Jayasekara (Physiotherapist).
The 11 teams that have already qualified for the Rio Olympic Rugby Sevens Tournament are host nation Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Japan, France, England, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and America.