Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) appointed Fereti Verebula as the head coach for the upcoming Asia Rugby Championship which will be held in Malaysia from 14th – 20th May 2017.
Verebula the former Papua New Guinea sevens coach, was the man in charge of the Sri Lanka Army rugby club last year. Under his tenure the soldiers played some exciting rugby in the last two seasons of the Dialog Rugby League.
Speaking to ThePapare.com Verebula said “It will always be a difficult task with less preparation, I think we had too long a break after the end of the club rugby season but we are in to the third week together so far things are shaping up all right.”
When asked about the inclusion of some of the seven’s players in the likes of Danushka Ranjan, Richard Dharmapala, Jason Dissanayaka, Suhiru Anthony and Fazil Marija the former captain, he said“Yeah it is always good to have experienced players, good to have Marija helping out the team which is going to be his farewell tour, so the youngsters certainly can learn a lot from the master. Ranjan, Richard, Jason all have been a part of the seven’s squad, them coming in will strengthen our squad. Sri Lanka Rugby Union is trying to separate players for both formats which will be a good initiative.”
Moreover, the humble Fijian said he prefers a Sri Lankan becoming the head coach where he can help him out, but he is happy with the support of Inthi Marikar high performance director SLR, Rajeev Perera Asst Coach and Nic Groube the trainer of SLR.
Above graphic shows Sri Lanka suffered a heavy defeat against Malaysia with a 42 -17 loss. Malaysia will be clear favourites to win the division one tournament yet again. They have the luxury of some Fijian talent in their team. Their skillset and physicality will be the only worry. “They have some big boys big Fijians who can destroy our defence, we know this and working on our defensive patterns, after all it will become mind games us fifteen vs them fifteen, having said that we can’t underestimate the Philippines and the promoters UAE, beating them will be a challenge too.”
Sri Lankan born Imad Reyal has been an outstanding player for the Emirates. He has been scoring tries with his dazzling footwork in the division 2 last year. He is expected to play against Sri Lanka on the 17th May.
Read : Is Imad Reyal Tuskers ready?
Meanwhile, ace kicker Rizah Mubarak and few other players were not training in the squad due to various reasons; however, Verebula is happy with the talent in the pool.
Roshan Weerarathne, will more likely to be the captain after the successful stint with the champion Kandy SC. Asanga Senavirathne the President of SLR did mention Roshan’s time will come to lead the nation at the last year’s team announcement.
SLR will name the captain and the final squad this Friday.