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Singer - Sri Lankan Airlines Rugby Sevens from September 5 to 7

Sixteen international teams will vie for honours when Sri Lanka's top Sevens Tourney in the Rugby calendar - the Singer - SriLankan Airlines Rugby Sevens kicks-off for the fifth successive year from September 5 to 7 at Bogambara Stadium, Kandy.

Amid much fanfare the tournament will be declared open by the Chief Guest, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Johnston Fernando.

Among the honoured guests who will grace the occasion are, former All Blacks captain (1975-1976) Andrew Roy Leslie and Christopher Padfield of the Wales Rugby Union. Co-ordinators from Europe and international panel referees from Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and Kenya will also be present.

The picturesque Bogambara grounds is expected to burst at its seams with loyal fans who will flock to the stadium to cheer their teams from the Arabian Gulf, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Portugal, Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka. In addition for the first time, teams from Australia, New Zealand, Morocco and Cook Islands will participate at this tournament.

Modelled on the lines of the Hong Kong Sevens, the Singer-SriLankan Airlines Rugby Sevens has grown from strength to strength over the last five years.

The origins of the Singer-SriLankan Rugby Sevens go back to 1999 when the Kandy Sports Club boldly organised a mega event bringing together teams from 10 Asian Rugby playing nations under the sole sponsorship of Singer Sri Lanka Ltd.

As one of the title sponsors, SriLankan Airlines will be flying in the invitees, the teams, officials and a greater number of rugby fans from Asia and Europe. SriLankan Airlines together with the official ground handler Connaissance de Ceylan has made the package more attractive by converting the match-only trip into an extended tour of the country.

Connaissance de Ceylan is the official travel agent and hotelier for the Singer-SriLankan Airlines Rugby Sevens.

Le Kandyan Resort which is owned, managed and marketed by Connaissance de Ceylan will accommodate the 16 teams and officials during the entire tournament. Judging by its popularity and encouraged by its success, the organisers intend to enter Singer-SriLankan Rugby Sevens into the International Rugby World Series in the near future.

Representatives from the IRB (International Rugby Board) the organising body for the World Series and several satellite series, are expected to be present at the event. Apart from the grand opening, the event promises to be impressive with several events such as the schools matches, women's exhibition match, a gamut of cultural and sight seeing activities added to the carnival atmosphere promised during this three-day Rugby Festival.

Rugby teams have been sponsored by the following seven organisations: DHL, Dialog GSM; Standard Chartered Bank; aircraft manufacturer - Airbus Industrie; and aircraft Engine Manufacturers - Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Ltd. (HAESL); CFM International (a joint company of Snecma Moteurs, France and General Electric Company, (USA); and Rolls Royce.

The Media sponsors are Maharaja TV (MTV) and Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. (ANCL).

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