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
|Date||Team 1||Score 1||Score 2||Team 2||SL (Time)|
|11-December||Hong Kong||54||08||Chinese Taipei||10.50 AM|
|11-December||Sri Lanka||27||21||Malaysia||12.50 PM|
|14-December||Sri Lanka||00||61||Hong Kong||10.50 AM|
|14-December||Malaysia||38||31||Chinese Taipei||12.50 PM|
|17-December||Sri Lanka||25||31||Chinese Taipei||10.50 AM|
|17-December||Malaysia||10||62||Hong Kong||12.50 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.
|Nikhila Gunadheera (Captain)||Royal College|
|Kushan Warusavithana (Vice Captain||Isipathana College|
|Harith Bandara||Isipathana College|
|Ashwanth Herath||S. Thomas’ College|
|Nirosh Perera||Science College|
|Adeesha Weerathunga||Isipathana College|
|Gayan Wickramarathna||Isipathana College|
|Tuan Sabar||Wesley College|
|Supun Wijesooriya||Science College|
|Janith Galpoththage||Science College|
|Naveen Hena Kankanamage||S. Thomas’ College|
|Vageesha Weerasinghe||Isipathana College|
|Aveesha Piyankarage||Trinity College|
|Udaya Pothupitiyage||Prince Of Wales College|
|Lahiru Withana Godawattage||Isipathana College|
|Ashok Vijekumar||Royal College|
|Pandula De Silva||S. Thomas’ College|
|Thanuja Malimbada||Science College|
|Sandesh Jayawickrama||St. Peter’s College|
|Andrew Yapa||St. Peter’s College|
|Wajid Fawmy||Zahira College|
|Ramesh Fernando||St. Peter’s College|
|Dhanuja Wijeratne||S. Thomas’ College|
|Romash Priyankara||St. Joseph’s College|
|Shalindra Alahakoon||Trinity College|