Sri Lanka rugby players enticed by Commander’s Cup | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka rugby players enticed by Commander’s Cup

7 February, 2021
Rizly Illyas
Rizly Illyas

Sri Lanka’s leading rugby players will be in action after more than a year in cold storage with the commencement of the Commander’s Cup Sevens championship scheduled for March at the Air Force ground Ratmalana.

Sri Lanka Rugby chief Rizly Illyas said they were elated that rugby followers will be able to follow the exploits of their favourite players after Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, himself a former Sri Lanka player, gave his blessings for a return to the sport that went into exile in early 2020 following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Taking into account the quarantine period, the Sevens could be held on March 20 and 21 if not on March 26 and 27. Illyas also said that there was no truth in a report that Minister Rajapaksa had ordered them to ensure only players who take part in the Sevens will be entitled to be selected for international matches or become part of their High Performance project for two-year contracts.

“The Minister has not issued any directive to us about picking players for national contracts only if they play in the domestic Sevens. That is a matter for Sri Lanka Rugby to decide as the parent body. But we must thank the Minister for extending his support for rugby to recommence.

“We knew that Kandy SC will not be contesting the Commander’s Cup Sevens but their players are free to enlist with other clubs and by doing so they stand in line for selection to the Sri Lanka squad”, said Illyas.

Phone service provider Dialog is the main commercial partner of Sri Lanka Rugby and the Sevens will be funded by them in keeping with their commitment.

Illyas said that under the present circumstances it will be the highest funding of a single Sevens event in the country by any commercial partner.