League winning coach from Royal College and former Sri Lanka national represent Dushanth Lewke has been appointed as the national coach for the Sri Lanka U19 XVs side. The U19 team is set to participate at the Asia Rugby Under 19 Championship that will kick off in Chinese Taipei on the 12th of December 2018.
A former national captain in the XVs format, Lewke boasts of ample experience as an aggressive third-row forward while representing CR & FC and Kandy Sports Club at the professional level.
Lewke during the league finale between Royal College and St. Peter’s College
Taking up coaching duties, Lewke played an assistant coach role to Sanath Martis during Royal’s league title triumphs in 2015 and 2017 and took the side to a deserving league title this year as head coach.
Sri Lanka Rugby(SLR) will also have the services of veteran player Mohammed Mushtaq who will take on the role of assistant coach. The former Zahira College alumni had the privilege of representing the country in several sevens tournaments in his 8-year long national career.
Having represented CR & FC in the club league, Mushtaq got his first assignment as national coach when he was put in charge of the Sri Lanka U18 Sevens side for the Asia U18 Schools Rugby 7s tournament in Hong Kong in 2016.
Akila Perera will be the trainer for the Sri Lanka side for the upcoming tour.
The national coaches will have a tough task of selecting the fittest outfit for the upcoming tour that will involve Sri Lanka playing three opponents in the span of 9 days.
Read more : Former 7s star Mushtaq to coach U18s
Last year, it was only Sri Lanka and Hong Kong in the tournament with both Korea and Chinese Taipei opting out. Sri Lanka lost both games by a huge margin owing to lack of training and preparation time.
This year, the Junior Tuskers will play Chinese Taipei, Korea and Hong Kong and the winner of the tournament will make it to the World Rugby U20 World Cup qualifiers.
Following ThePapare Kandy Reds v Colombo Blues Schools Rugby encounters, a squad of 37 members were shortlisted and are currently training in Colombo.
“We are now in training and will be looking to shortlist the final squad within the next two weeks” added Lewke on the preparations to the U19 tournament in Taipei.