The national selectors have named a squad of 25 that will travel to Malaysia to represent Sri Lanka at the Junior Rugby ASIAD from the 11th to the 17th of December.

Speaking to ThePapare.com on the squad, Nilufer Ibrahim, the Junior National coach, was confident of doing well at the tournament, adding, “We have a good set of players this time. Some of them have already turned out for club teams in the Dialog Rugby League and have gained vital experience in playing against competitive opponents.  It was easy to work with the boys as many of them were exposed to the professionalism in the club set up.”

However in quite a surprising move, the selcectors have decided to leave behind last season’s highest point scorer in the schools’ league, Antonian Samuel Maduwantha, who was expected to be a definite member of the touring squad. Maduwantha is arguably the most reliable place-kicker in the mix and showcased his abilities last season when he even converted a 50 meter drop goal against Trinity College.

Coach Ibrahim also expressed his surprise at the exclusion of Maduwantha, saying, “It came as a total surprise. In my squad Maduwantha was a definite member. He is a utility back who can play as a fly half and full back both and is a very reliable place kicker. He was the highest point scorer of the last year’s schools league and at training Maduwantha even converted a 55m place kick. The decision to omit him has baffled us”.

Asia Rugby U19 Championship Fixtures
DateTeam 1Score 1Score 2Team 2SL (Time)
11-DecemberHong Kong5408Chinese Taipei10.50 AM
11-DecemberSri Lanka2721Malaysia12.50 PM
14-DecemberSri Lanka0061Hong Kong10.50 AM
14-DecemberMalaysia3831Chinese Taipei12.50 PM
17-DecemberSri Lanka2531Chinese Taipei10.50 AM
17-DecemberMalaysia1062Hong Kong12.50 PM

ThePapare.com contacted the national selectors to clarify the thinking behind Maduwantha’s omission, speaking to us on the condition of anonymity a member of the selection committee stated that “Maduwantha was not considerd as a starting player in the team; He was considered as a utility player. When considered as a utility back line player we observed that Maduwantha came up short in the defensive approach which will be crucial especially when it comes to bigger opponents like Hong Kong. The alternative choice had a more physical and a commanding presence in defense and could also slot into the center position apart from the fly half and fullback positions ”

Royalist Nikhila Gunadeera has been handed over the responsibility of marshaling the team while former Isipathana skipper Kushan Indunil will act as his deputy.  Nilufer Ibrahim will guide the young Tuskers as the head coach with Terrance Henry assisting him under the guidance of Sri Lanka Rugby high performance director Inthi Marikkar while Rohan Chinthaka will be manning the management and operational duties of the team.

The winners of the tournament will earn a spot to take part in the Junior Rugby World Cup 2016 that will be held from 31st May to 18th June in Georgia.

ThePapare.com will be bringing you all the games live and exclusively from Malaysia and we invite all you ardent rugby fans to join with us in wishing our young Tuskers all the very best in their attempt to conquer Asia.

Final Squad

Name

School

Nikhila Gunadheera (Captain)Royal College
Kushan Warusavithana (Vice CaptainIsipathana College
Harith BandaraIsipathana College
Ashwanth HerathS. Thomas’ College
Nirosh PereraScience College
Adeesha WeerathungaIsipathana College
Gayan WickramarathnaIsipathana College
Tuan SabarWesley College
Supun WijesooriyaScience College
Janith GalpoththageScience College
Naveen Hena KankanamageS. Thomas’ College
Vageesha WeerasingheIsipathana College
Aveesha PiyankarageTrinity College
Udaya PothupitiyagePrince Of Wales College
Lahiru Withana GodawattageIsipathana College
Ashok VijekumarRoyal College
Pandula De SilvaS. Thomas’ College
Thanuja MalimbadaScience College
Sandesh JayawickramaSt. Peter’s College
Andrew YapaSt. Peter’s College
Wajid FawmyZahira College
Ramesh FernandoSt. Peter’s College
Dhanuja WijeratneS. Thomas’ College
Romash PriyankaraSt. Joseph’s College
Shalindra AlahakoonTrinity College