Former Sri Lanka Rugby Sevens sensation, Radhika Hettiarachchi, has been handed over the duties as the Head Coach of the Army Sports Club, following the exit of veteran coach Nihal Gunarathna. The Soldiers announced the recruitment a short while ago – a few days ahead of the 2019 Club Seven’s tournament.
This will be his first appointment in Sri Lanka since his exclusion from the country’s coaching circuit in 2016. Hettiarachchi moved to Nepal last year after being offered the position as the Head Coach of Nepal Men’s and Women’s Sevens Rugby teams, becoming only the second person to coach another Nation after Ronnie Ibrahim, who was once in-charge of the Indian Rugby team.
The former Rajan superstar went on to represent Kandy SC, CH&FC, CR&FC and the Upcountry Lions in the Club Rugby arena from the late 90s and also captained the Sri Lanka Seven’s and XV’s National teams. His biggest accomplishment as a coach came in the 2013 Singer Schools Rugby League when the Dharmaraja College team led by Lochana Hettiarachchi, clinched the league title in the first year of their promotion.
However, a tough challenge lies ahead of Hettiarachchi as Army Sports Club had an up and down run in the league last year. The Soldiers managed to beat Kandy SC at Nittawela after 23 years and ended up 6th in the league table with 3 of their players making it to the Sri Lanka National team.
The once scintillating wing, has come a long way in his career and is known for producing some quality players. With the new-found confidence, new coaching staff and experienced players, Army SC will be a team to watch out for when the season commences.