Sri Lanka Rugby Union (SLRFU) President Asanga Seneviratne said that he plans to shorten the upcoming domestic league rugby season with a view to enhance chances of the national sevens team in the international rugby sevens scene.
Sri Lanka, which finished overall second in the Asian Rugby Sevens Series, sees the need to prepare its rugby players for the next Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens which will serve as one leg of the World Sevens Series. The islanders will be accompanied to this tournament by the winner of the Asian Rugby Sevens Series Hong Kong.
“Sri Lanka has to get more exposure against foreign opposition before they go to Hong Kong. This is why we (SLRFU) want to get the cooperation of the clubs to shorten the season,” said Seneviratne. He said he was confident he could get the support of giant clubs like Havelock SC, CR&FC and Kandy SC to support a national cause like compiling a team for the World Series Sevens. At the time of writing, Seneviratne said that the SLRFU was in the process of negotiating with the clubs in this regard.
Sri Lanka entered the tournament as the dark horse, but played below par on the final day of the tournament losing to Hong Kong (Cup semi-final) and China (Third place play-off). Seneviratne said he was disappointed at how the team played on the second day of the Colombo leg of the tournament, but added, “I am extremely happy that Sri Lanka finished second overall in the tournament. This is no mean feat.”
He acknowledged the fact that some Sri Lankan players had to play out of their regular positions and this put them at a disadvantage. “But what we must take note of is that all Asian teams are playing fabulous rugby and no team can have a home advantage. In the Colombo leg, Sri Lanka played the worst compared to other countries when taking the heat factor into consideration,” he said.
The SLRFU boss confirmed the fact that the rugby authorities will be obtaining the services of former rugby union President Priyantha Ekanayake to support the administrative work of the island’s rugby controlling body.