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Lankan squad for Singer Rugby Asiad to be picked today

The National Selection Committee of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union headed by Anton Benedict will pick the Sri Lanka squad today for the Singer Rugby Asiad which will be worked off at CR and FC Grounds and Royal College Sports Complex from November 3 to 10, 2007.

The Chairman of the National Selection Committee Anton Benedict said that they will select the 23-member squad with seven stand-byes today and send it to Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge for ratification.

He said those players in the 37-member pool who have regularly attended practices and those who only kept away from practices for valid reasons such as injury will be considered for selection for the final squad.

Five top ruggerites from Kandy SC - Sanjeeva Jayasinghe, Dushanth Lewke, Fazil Marija, Sean Wijesinghe and Imran Bisthamin who are in France to watch the World Cup rugby final between England and South Africa today are likely to be left out from the Sri Lanka team as they will be returning to the country only on October 22 (Monday).

Benedict said that of the five players only Sanjeeva Jayasinghe had met him and asked for his permission to keep away from practices as he will be leaving for France to watch the semi-finals and finals of the Rugby World Cup.

But he had advised Jayasinghe not to skip practices and get dropped from the final squad as he thought that going to France to watch the Rugby World Cup was not a valid reason to keep away from practices.

He said that with the Rugby Asiad only two weeks away, the team should be picked today and they should go into a residential coaching camp in preparation for the Asiad.

The Secretary of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union Fazal Mohamed said that the five players had left for France after obtaining prior permission from the SLRFU and will be returning to the country on October 22. The SLRFU had requested the National Selection Committee to pick the final squad on October 24 after conducting a fitness test on October 23.

He said that Sri Lanka should field its best team for the Asiad and they cannot afford to lose the services of these five key players and also those players who are on the injured list who need time to recover.

Asias sixth ranked team Sri Lanka has been drawn into Group B along with Malaysia and China while fourth ranked Kazakhstan has been slotted into Group A along with Chinese Taipei and Thailand.

These six teams will battle it out for the Cup Championship while India, Pakistan and the minnows of Asian Rugby Qatar and Iran will vie for the Shield Championship.

The match schedule:

November 3: Sri Lanka vs China at Longden Place at 4.20 p.m. and Kazakhstan vs Thailand at Royal Sports Complex at 4.20 p.m.

November 4: Iran vs Qatar as Longden Place at 2.40 p.m. India vs Pakistan at Longden Place at 4.20 p.m.

November 5: Chinese Taipei vs Thailand at Longden Place at 2.40 p.m., Malaysia vs China at Longden Place at 4.20 p.m.

November 6: Iran vs Pakistan at Royal Sports Complex at 2.40 p.m. Qatar vs India at Royal Sports Complex at 4.20 p.m.

Novemebr 7: Kazakhstan vs Chinese Taipei at Longden Place at 2.40 p.m. Sri Lanka vs Malaysia at Longden Place as 4.20 p.m..

November 8: Iran vs India at Longden Place at 2.40 p.m. Qatar vs Pakistan at Longden Place at 4.20 p.m.

November 10: Cup Championship final at Longden Place at 4.20 p.m., Plate Championship final at Longden Place at 2.40 p.m. Bowl Championship final at Royal Sports Complex at 2.50 p.m.

 

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