Former Kingswoodian and current Kandy Sports Club play-maker Fazil Marija will lead the national Sevens team at the 2nd edition of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series which will be hosted by China today and tomorrow (23). Borneo Sevens champions Japan and Kazakhstan will miss out from this tournament, which allowed the tournament organisers to have two groups of 5 teams each.
Sri Lanka will lock horns with Hong Kong, Korea, UAE and Singapore in the group stages. Sri Lanka will play Korea in the morning and then in the afternoon tomorrow will play against Hong Kong. The last 2 group matches against Singapore and UAE will take place on 23 September.
Rizly Illyas speaking to the Daily Mirror said that the national side was hard at training in Diyathalawa under the watchful eyes of former England skipper and IRB’s highest points scorer Ben Gollings, who will be the Head Coach for this tour as well. Sri Lanka who secured a Bowl win at the Borneo Sevens is expected to make it to the top 6 at this tournament. Mr. Illyas ended by saying that the initial squad of 37 players were brought down to 12 and showed lot of respect for the national selectors and Head Coach for understanding the current requirement on the leadership criteria.
Mr. Illyas continued and said, “Our coach Gollings, recommended Fazil as Captain who is more experienced at International level and with lot of maturity. Even the national selectors gave the green light to go ahead with this. We have all the confidence the national side will come out very well in their rankings and will keep the lead in the current rankings.”
Further, next years Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, which will count 38 years, will see 28 teams locking horns at the Causeway Bay. These 12 additional teams will also provide the better performing teams at the HSBC Asian Sevens series with more opportunities.
The final touring squad of 12 players (Subject to Minister of Sports Approval): Shenal Dias, Nigel Ratwatte, Chula Susantha, Mohamed Sheriff, Sajith Saranga, Dinusha Chathuranga, Vishvamithra Jayasinghe, Srinath Sooriyabandara, Fazil Marija (Capt), Saliya Kumara, Saliya Handapangoda and Sahiru Anthony,
- By Shamseer Jaleel