HISTORIC RUGBY SEVENS TRIUMPH FOR SRI LANKA U:20

Published : 10:26 am  August 1, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (758) reads | 

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Sri Lanka Under 20 ruggerites led by Kevin Dixon created history when they became champions at the first leg of the Asian Rugby Sevens Tournament 2016 beating South Korea 38 to nothing in the Cup Finals at the Pasir Gudang Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia yesterday. Sri Lankan outfit proved what experience and exposure at Asian level could do to the team where 11 of the 12 players who toured Malaysia last year at the same event.

They used their experience to over-come hosts Malaysia in one of the semi-final encounters and later on went on to get the better of the Koreans in a one sided final. On day one Sri Lanka who stamped their class almost upset the apple cart when they went down to Japan 14/19 in a thrilling encounter where the Asian Giants managed to score in the last minute of the game. Sri Lanka handed off hosts Malaysia in the Cup semifinals 29/14 before demolishing the high riding South Koreans 38/0 in the Cup finals who were on their debut sevens tour at the Under 20 level. Japan will be disappointed to end the tournament on number 3 position when they outclassed Malaysia 41 to nothing in the third place play-off. In the Women’s segment Thailand created a major upset when they edged out much fancied Hong Kong 7/5, in a thrilling Women’s Cup Finals. In the Cup finals Omalka Gunaratne, Kevin Dixon, Buddima Piyaratne (2), Vimukthi Rahula and Nishon Perera scored for Sri Lanka who led 21 to nothing at the short breather. They went on the rampage to end on 38 to nothing in the end.

Piyaratne, Burah and Kevin Dixon (2) converted the tries. Sri Lanka progressed well from day one onwards where they beat Philippines 22/5, Thailand 31/5 and lost to Japan 14/19. However day two looked much brighter when they thrashed UAE 45/5 in group stages and went on to beat Malaysia and South Korea in knock out stages. In total they played six games losing out only to Japan accumulating 179 points. Director of High Performance Coaching at Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), Inthi Marikar commenting on the victory said “We need to believe in ourselves that we can beat top sides like Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. Today we proved this. We need to end the game and always be positive and attack, pile up points to avoid any pressure on us. We progressed well with wins over Philippines, Thailand and UAE in group stages though going down to Japan by giving away a last minute try. On day two we looked a totally different outfit learning from the mistakes on day one.

I am amazed by the performance of these young lads. I have been part of sevens rugby since 1987 for the last 29 years and never got a chance like this. We should look after these lads and hope that we can win a Gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. Head Coach, Sudath Sampath said “A lot of hard work and commitment by the lads in a short span of time together paved way for this success. These guys will go into the record books of Sri Lankan rugby”.