Sri Lanka Rugby will be making several changes in their starting lineup for the 3rd leg of the Asia Sevens Series as the national selectors have brought back two familiar faces and handed Srinath Sooriyabandara the captaincy ahead of the tournament in Colombo.
Following the defeat to Philippines in the 5th and 6th play-off in South Korea (2nd leg), the Tuskers dropped a position in the Asia Rugby rankings from 3rd to 4th and a podium finish in Colombo is mandatory for the team if they want to finish the series on a successful note.
Sudarshana Muthuthanthri, who captained the side in the second leg in South Korea, will not feature in the Lankan leg as he is still recovering from the wrist injury he sustained at the Asian Games.
Sooriyabandara will, therefore, lead the side in front of their home crowd on the 13th and 14th of October. The speedster also led the team in the 1st leg in Hong Kong when Muthuthanthri was ruled due to injury.
Meanwhile, the consistent Danush Dayan is expected to take the role of vice-captain of the side. Dayan has had an impressive season, playing all of the tournaments for this calendar year.
The Tuskers will have their key playmaker, Danushka Ranjan back in Lankan colours after a lapse of 2 months. Ranjan sustained a hamstring injury during the build up to the Asian Games in August, failing to contribute to the team during their medal conquest. He later missed the first two legs of the Asian Series.
CR & FC’s dominant number 8 Omalka Gunaratne will feature in the Lankan side for the first time since October 2017 and is expected to fill in the shoes of Muthuthanthri.
Also Read: Asia Sevens: Injuries hit senior players
Experienced campaigners Kavindu Perera and Gayan Weeraratne will also be back after brief injury hiatuses. The addition of experience will be crucial when the Tuskers face the heavyweights Japan and Hong Kong in the tournament.
The 12-member squad for the 3rd leg of the Asia Sevens Series is as follows:
- Srinath Sooriyabandara (Captain) – Kandy SC
- Danush Dayan (Vice-Captain) – Kandy SC
- Danushka Ranjan – Kandy SC
- Sudam Sooriyarachchi – CH & FC
- Kevin Dixon – CR & FC
- Reeza Raffaideen – CR & FC
- Gayan Weeraratne – Kandy SC
- Kavindu Perera – CR & FC
- Adeesha Weerathunge – Navy SC
- Naveen Henakankanamage – CH & FC
- Dinuk Amerasinghe – Havelock SC
- Omalka Gunarathane – CR & FC
- Reyhan Silva
- Buddhima PIyarathane
- Kavindu De Costa
Stay logged onto ThePapare.com for LIVE and EXCLUSIVE action from the 3rd leg of the Asia Sevens Series on the 13th and 14th of October 2018.