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Sri Lanka to host Rugby Asiad in November this year

RUGBY: The Rugby Asiad which was scheduled to be held in November last year and postponed indefinitely will be held in Colombo from November 3 to 10, 2007 said the president of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union DIG Nimal Lewke at a press briefing held at Trans Asia Hotel yesterday regarding the 2007 rugby season.

Lewke also said that the President’s Trophy Rugby Tournament will be revived this year and will be conducted under floodlights at CR and FC grounds, Longdon Place from August 24 to September 1.

The eight top clubs, schools and the universities will take part in the tournament with two matches being played for a day. The tournament was last played in 1998 when CR beat Kandy SC by 30-26 in the final Caltex Lubricants have come forward to sponsor the tournament.

Lewke also paid a glowing tribute to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for donating Rs. 50 million for development of rugby in Sri Lanka.

“When I brought to the notice of the president the inability of service teams to play their home matches at Galle Face, Ratmalana and Welisara due to security reasons he took immediate steps to provide the Shalika grounds, Race Course and either Nomads or Pedris Park for the Army, Air Force and Navy to play their home matches.

Lewke said that he was keen that rugby be played at the Race Course grounds as it was a famous venue for rugby till the 1960’s where even Clifford Cup finals had been played, Rugby will be developed in Uva, Galle, Kelani Valley and Kandy which would help to unearth talented ruggerites from those areas who will go onto represent Sri Lanka.

He hoped to get a professional coach and a trainer from abroad for the national team. Financial assistance will be provided for the less affluent clubs which would help them to meet their expenses.

Sri Lanka will also take part in the Asian Nations Rugby Tournament. The Sri Lankans will confront Kazakhstan in Kazakhstan on April 26 and Arabian Gulf in Dubai on May 10. He also lauded Caltex Lubricants for coming forward to sponsor this year’s Caltex League, Clifford cup knock-out, Inter-Provincial Tournament, under 23 Tournament and the ‘President’s Trophy Tournament.

The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Caltex Lubricants Kishu Gomes said,” Today we mark Seven years into the sponsorship of club rugby in Sri lanka. As the sponsors of the inter-club league and knock out tournaments, Caltex is indeed proud of the progress of the game in Sri Lanka over the years.

“Sponsorship for us has indeed been rewarding. Over the last seven years we have seen the game of rugby grow and develop adding value to both the sport and in turn to the organisation by complementing our brand personality of Power, Energy and speed”.

In 2000, Caltex began its partnership with the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) in support of the two tournaments. “When we took over the sponsorship in 2000, our management had a dream. It was to popularise the game and make it grow both as a spectator sport and increase team participation”

With the Sri Lanka Rugby world ranking improving from 68th place to 43rd place and Asian ranking improving to fifth place, today the game sees an immense growth. said Gomes in conclusion

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