International Rugby Sevens Series in November
The only international rugby tournament held in Sri Lanka the Asian
Rugby Sevens will be conducted here with a new name Carlton Sri Lanka
Sevens Series said Tharunyata Hetak Foundation Chairman Namal Rajapaksa
at a press briefing held at SLRFU headquarters yesterday.
This he said will be of vital importance for Sri Lanka. It will give
an opportunity to bring in foreigners to see the peace achieved by our
Security Forces in liberating the country. Earlier teams from other
countries when invited was reluctant to play here.
Things have changed dramatically and it is the opportune time to hold
this tourney here, which will also help increase tourism and improve the
standard of rugby.
He said the tournament was to be taken out of the calendar due to
various reasons, but the Interim Committee headed by Lasitha Guneratne
after a great effort has been able to win the bid.
Tharunyata Hetak, the organisation which wants to promote peace
through sport while giving an equal opportunity for all young sportsmen
and women to achieve national and international levels grabbed this
chance to organise the tournament along with the Rugby Interim
He also added that he has used all his resources to get the fullest
co-operation from the Presidential Secretariat, Foreign Ministry and the
They also plan to get the help of the Tourism Ministry as this could
help popularise the country’s image as a fine tourist destination.
He made a fervent appeal to the private sector organisations to
provide the maximum support by way of sponsorship for the tournament.
He also added that a schools tournament too will be conducted
alongside the international tourney which is scheduled to be played at
the Sugathadasa Stadium under lights for the first time.
Lasitha Guneratne explaining the program for the tournament said that
24 school teams will be picked for the tournament after a tournament
conducted on a provincial basis.
This will be done to give the outstation schools a chance to enter
the fray to play alongside Sri Lanka’s top level schools.
He said we want teams from all parts of the country to compete here.
Before this it was only a selected lot of school had the opportunity.
We have decided to do away with this method as the Tharunyata Hetak
Foundation is playing its role throughout the country and their
involvement here needs great care to be achieved their goal while
holding the international tournament with many intentions.
Guneratne noted that some officials were not in favour of holding the
tournament and have kept silent without questioning the Asian Rugby
When the Interim Committee came into force we worked tirelessly to
win this for our country. In fact the Asian Rugby Football Union
questioned whether we could accommodate the full 26 member countries for
the tourney to disrupt our plans.
As such the Interim Committee will send invitations to all member
countries, said Guneratne. But we are sure having sixteen teams
participating, said the Interim Committee Chairman.
Answering a question posed by the media regarding the referees
refusal to officiate at rugby matches the Secretary Kiran Atapattu said
the Referees Society has demanded a thumping sum of money. In fact the
voucher written by the Society is not properly drafted.
This demand cannot be met by the SLRFU. As such the SLRFU is unable
to settle the dues. The Interim Committee is not in a position to
violate the Sports Law and we have to withhold the payments until a
settlement is reached.