Sri Lanka Rugby has taken the initiative to get junior academies to play games before the kick-off of the Dialog Rugby League matches in a bid to improve the junior rugby system in the country. The first three weeks saw A-Goal, Golden Bees and HARFA Academy juniors take the field at Havelock Park, Ratmalana and Racecourse.
This initiative will give more exposure to the academy players who are still tying up their boot laces and starting their careers. The initiative will also be carried out in Nittawela in the coming weeks where the Kandy Sports Club Rugby Academy will host matches for the travelling juniors.
Photos: Get Into Rugby – Jaffna
The Under 16 Schools League Tournament was introduced by the Sri Lanka Schools’ Rugby Football Association earlier this year. The initiative that kicked off a few years ago has had tremendous growth with ample schools enlisting themselves in the junior tournament. Played under normal World Rugby guidelines, the academies will use the ground according to the age group categories as the playing area.
This will also be a good opportunity for the youngsters to witness their role models in action at a very young age. These players will one day go onto wear the jerseys for their schools and country, so the objective of the respective academies is to give their players the much important game time which is lacked. The availability of grounds was also another factor that the academies lacked from the onset.
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The U-16 tournaments evolved from a 12-A-Side tournament to a 10-A-Side tournament in the previous year when it was played on a two day basis and the tournament has normally been played all over the island with the academy rugby carnivals all over the Island. The academies will not restrict any age groups for the young players as the U12, U14 and U16 matches will be throughout the evening half before the club rugby teams run on to the field.