The Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Rugby was held today at the Olympic House in Colombo.

The spearheads of Rugby in Sri Lanka assembled today for the Annual General meeting to discuss on going matters in the rugby arena. The meeting was headed by the executive committee led by the President Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) Mr. Asanga Senevirathne.

The Secretary of the committee commenced proceedings by reading the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting held on November 1st, 2016. Next in the agenda was tabling of accounts for the preceding year which was done by the Treasurer, Mr. Ray Abeywardhana. The year of 2016 was an intense year of rugby in this island nation. It was a year when Sri Lanka made their mark in Asia Rugby and it was a Year of success in terms of accounts.

The committee led by Senevirathne, changed things around completely from loss making year into profit making year in 2016. According to the accounts read out by the treasurer SLRU made an surplus of more than Rs. 5 million in cash.

Senevirathne in his speech went on to speak about the achievements this year.  

“ Sri Lanka Rugby probably had one of the most successful years in the history last year in terms of performance in the field. As you all know our under 18’s and under 20’s became Asian champions and we also did extremely well in our 7’s, we were ranked #2 in Asia. “

He also went on to point out the importance of rugby becoming an entertainment business with social media following behind the game. “Today rugby isn’t just a sport. It’s an entertainment business. The internet has totally changed sport and Sri Lanka is totally lacking in that. Even if you go to the sponsors what they will look for is how many hits you have, how many likes you have and how many followers you have. “

Mr. Asanga mentioned some important changes he had in mind to make in this year, ” This year we will try to bring back the foreign players to the tournament. We will make sure to bring in regulations to make sure when a club work hard and invest on a player the club will be able to retain the player. We have so many foreign players who are studying in our local universities. We intend to pave a way for those players to get into the rugby system and even represent Sri Lanka. “

He also spoke on the relevance of 7s rugby to Sri Lanka. ” 15 men rugby is a challenge. It’s cost as much as 5 million for a 15 side tour. So as a committee we have our focus on 7’s. Our main objective is cut down the work load from the main 7’s players and for that we need the help from the clubs. Yes we can win an Asia 7s title and party. But that’s not enough we want to see Sri Lanka in the top 20 teams in 7’s. “

But the most important fact that he mentioned was regarding school rugby. He critiziced the administration and showed his frustration over how schools tournaments are being carried out. ” How these school tournaments are been conducted, what we put in and what we give our children is a disgrace. We’ve tried so hard to get the schools association on board but we have failed. They got a sponsorship of 85 million but they turned it down to hold on to a sponsorship which they don’t even know how much they are getting. This has prevented us from upbringing school boys into the international level. Unless the school children get a chance to play against New Zealand, England or even Malaysia you can’t expect them to come to national level and perform. “

He ended his speech by pointing how far we have come in women’s rugby this year and that they will continue to support and encourage women’s rugby in the coming year.

Before end of the meeting, the executive committee awarded life time membership to few big names in the history of Sri Lanka rugby and there will be a ceremony at the super 7’s to appreciate these stars in the past.