Sri Lanka could see their rugby players being taxed heavily this season after the governing body for the sport in the country (Sri Lanka Rugby) drew up calendar loaded with both local and international events.
The island nation has one of the largest player bases in the Asian region, but it terribly lacks enough professional players to make an efficient second string in the face of injuries to key regular players.
The new calendar calls for more commitment from players for the abbreviated version of rugby union. According to the calendar, Sri Lanka hopes to field teams for some of the looked forward to rugby sevens tournaments like Borneo Sevens, Asia Rugby Under 20 Sevens, Asia Rugby Sevens Series (which comprises three legs) and the prestigious Mercantile Sevens, the latter being so important because players take the opportunity to show loyalty to their employees in no uncertain terms. This is apart from players representing their respective clubs in the two legs of the domestic rugby sevens scheduled for May this year.
It’s a known fact that the interest for sevens competitions has risen after the islanders made it to two finals in the Asian Sevens Series last year. But Sri Lanka must have replacements for players like Fazil Marija and Sudarshan Muthuthantri, two players who are conditioning themselves after serious injuries. For the record, Sri Lanka also did well in the under 18 and 20 Asian Sevens tournaments winning the Cup Championships.
There is also the challenging Asia Rugby Championships (a 15-a-side tournament) in April this year where Sri Lanka is expected to contest the Division 1 tournament. Sri Lanka finished second last year behind winners Malaysia.
Sri Lanka will again be among the host nations for the Asian Sevens Series, conducting the third leg of this tournament in Colombo on October 13 and 14.