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Marija and his band did Sri Lanka proud - Asanga Seneviratne

Fazil Marija and his band made Sri Lanka proud by winning the Plate Championship at the Shanghai Sevens. Sri Lanka who won the Bowl in Borneo a few weeks back, presented a improved display at this Asian Sevens series.

Beat Thailand by 27 points to 7, giving Sri Lanka the third sevens trophy in the Asian circuit, and second for this year. First ever sevens trophy to be won by Sri Lanka was in the Hong Kong Sevens. That was under the leadership of Hisham Abdeen.

Some of the players who played in that team are, Priyantha Ekanayake, Saman Kothalawala, Anura Uduwalagedera, Hafeez Marso, Ajantha Samarakoon, Hemantha Yatawara, Kolitha Gunathillake. Anuradha Bowela and Shane Brohier.


Fazil Marija

Next will be the sevens in Mumbai-India mid month. President of the controlling body Asanga Seneviratne former S. Thomas', Combined Schools, CR & FC and Sri Lanka back division player, whose favorite is sevens rugby and he has been doing his best sinc he came into administration to promote Sevens rugby. He is convinced and says that Sri Lanka can do wonders in Sevens rugby. He is all out to give his best for sevens rugby. Speaking to me at the Havelock SC-Air Force quarter final game, he said: "you know how much I support sevens rugby and now the boys have made Sri Lanka proud".

Hard working secretary Rizly Illiyas a former ruggerite says now we are in a good footing and should do well n the next sevens outing in Mumbai.

In the early days rugby experts of the caliber of some top class sevens players can remember former National coaches such Nimal Leweke and Asanga Seneviratne when they were coaching the national sevens team, said at that time, with the right approach, Sri Lanka rugby can always get to the pinnacle of the sport in the Asian region. Its time that the Rugby Union get all rugby sevens experts in the Island and even get International famous experts and work out "Aims and Strategy " to put sevens rugby on the map once again in the Asian region educating all players.

We have some top sevens players, who can be rated as best in the Asian Region. Now Asanga is the head of Rugby and he can do it. Seven a side rugby which was born in Scotland 1883. It was a decade after the formation of the Scottish Union, Melrose, a little town in the South of Scotland, better known as the Scottish borders was the birth place of this abreacted version of the game.

This the ideal, game for our national team It is hard for us to play in the fifteen a side. With our knowledge of the game and fitness, we can hit the top in the Asian circuit.

Sevens is basically an abbreviated version of Rugby Union, played with seven players rather than the usual 15. The size of the field is not reduced; the extra space that is available usually leads to frantic high scoring affairs over the course of games usually 14 minute duration, although some matches later in the tournament do last longer.

While fundamentally being the same as its big brother, rugby sevens dispenses with much of his brute force and concentrates on fast breaks and generally a score, on average, every three minutes.

Sevens rugby like T-20 cricket a 7-aside football has a huge spectator interest. Rugby in our country is a legacy of the British. The records say that the first game was played in Sri Lanka, way back in 1879 when the Ceylon Rugby Football Union was born along wit the famous Up-Country Low Country encounter "Capper Cup" which was last played in 1973.

A Police Officer by the name of K.F. Jenkins a Welshman, stationed in Ratnapura was the man who introduced Sevens rugby to Sri Lanka in 1931. The first ever sevens game was played at the Ratnapura Esplanade, which match was kicked off at 7. a.m. Our first involment in a sevens tournament was in 1949 when the Ceylon Babarains took part in the All-Indian tournament held in Colombo.

Then in 1958 Colombo was also the venue of the B.I. Centenary All Indian tournaments. Then two of the pioneer Sevens tournaments in our country in the days gone by were the Layards Cup and the CR & FC Invitation tournament. In 1947 CR & FC celebrated their 25th anniversary with a sevens tournament. For the first time in 1975. The Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union conducted an inter club sevens tournament. Then came the Singer-Srilankan Airlines Sevens organized by Kandy Sports Club, which went on for ten long years with overseas teams, and now it is Carlton sevens.

Fazil Marija - the best sevens player

Shanghai sevens skipper Fazil Marija says that it is extremely important that a "stability as Fly Half" is vital especially against all sides. He has the experience, seniority and respect of his colleagues and lead by example. Provides the vital link between forwards and backs.

His quick hands is potentially a deciding factor in being able to release pace backs, a swift passer, quick and strong Fazil plays a key role for his club Kandy SC and the Country. He was non-committal, when the subject of key players came up, preferring to focus on the team as a unit. "Whatever you might achieve, it shouild b known that there are other men on the field" he was once told by an earlier coach and he abides by that advice.

Hailing form a famous Malay rugby crazy family, he has stamped his name in the Kandy Sports Club and Sri Lanka rugby history books as one of the best extremely influential in dictating the back play for several years with knowledge as a good prospect for Sri Lanka for a long time.

Fazil was educated at Kingswood College, Kandy the school situated close to his residence. He played rugger for the school in all age groups and ended as the captain of the senior side. He was first coached at senior level by G.B Gunadasa a former Army SC and Sri Lanka wing three quarter and later by his cousin Ronnie Ibrahim.

He played for the Kingswoodians from 2002 to 2004 and captained in the last year. In the same year he was invited to play for Kandy Sports Club in the Clifford cup knockouts and today is a legend of this sport.

Fazil is a player who is able to breach the defense and execute ploys such as dummy pass, scissor pass and reverse pass. We haven't seen a player of his caliber for some time. For him rugger is his favorite sport since school days.

Fazil is an extraordinary person, with huge talent who reads the game closely and carefully to make changes on the spot. Naturally, a very true friend among his team mates, he has the ability to exploit through encouragement and advice. This has been one of his features and certainly it would have delighted many ruggerites. His main ambition is to put the club right on top.

He got immense backing from King maker of the game Malik Samarawickrema. His uncle Tuany Amidon played for Army SC as full back, a double International at Football and Rugger, Roy Amith played for Kandy SC, T.M.N. Sherifideen played for Navy SC, his cousins, Ibrahim brothers Raja, Roy, Ronnie (Navy Coach), Rinne, Nilufer, Bukhs brothers Ansar and Amjad, Dev Ananda the Navy SC fly half, his own brother Faizal.

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