LETTER : Rugby must be the winner | Sunday Observer

LETTER : Rugby must be the winner

Congratulations to the new office-bearers of Sri Lanka Rugby for their stand taken to develop and sustain a specialist Sevens team and not depend on fifteen-a-side players who are only heavy and cannot run which is what Sevens rugby is about.

I am not sure why on earth did administrators wait for so long to give thought to this and it is also time that some of Sri Lanka’s brilliant Sevens players like Hisham Abdeen, Chandrishan Perera and Nalin de Silva be brought back as administrators as they will be having a wealth of knowledge to share.

I also fully agree with Mr. Jayasekera who in a letter to the Sunday Observer said that the success of Fiji in world Sevens in due to their emphasis on having a specialist Sevens team that even the All Blacks cannot match.

Hisham Abdeen in particular should be given a prominent place to have a say in Sevens rugby as he captained the Sri Lanka team that won the Bowl trophy at the internationally famous Cathy Pacific Hong Kong Sevens in 1984 which still remains as the single best achievement for Sri Lanka in international rugby.

Abdeen runs his academy and is doing a marvelous job grooming players and one of them is Naveen Henakankanamge who is the recent find for Sri Lanka in Sevens rugby. I am a hundred percent certain that Nazim Mohamed the current vice president of Sri Lanka Rugby who is in charge of Sevens development will welcome Abdeen as an advisor.

Chandrishan Perera and Nalin de Silva must also be taken into Sri Lanka Rugby’s advisory committee that is headed by Lasitha Gunaratne.

It is also heartening to note the stand taken by Sri Lanka Rugby to prop up struggling clubs with foreign players. For too long has one club Kandy SC turned the domestic rugby season into a boring one-horse race that gave fans nothing to look forward to as they enticed and took away the best players from rival clubs.

Rugby followers pay to see good rugby. What happened over the past 20 years is that everyone in the country knew that Kandy SC will be the champions even before the tournament started. This is not a good way to promote rugby and this may be also one reason why Sri Lanka was not able to have a competitive national team as the emphasis was on one club.

Let’s hope rugby fans will see some good an unpredictable rugby matches in the new season. Let Kandy SC win again. What is in question is the absence of a level-playing field.

Good luck to all eight clubs in the running.

Jude Peiris