The exciting and thrilling game of rugby that attracts a large number of spectators will begin the inter club League matches on December 1 with defending champs Kandy SC being one of the favourites.
The first game will be played between Havelock SC and Air Force SC at Havelock Park with kick off scheduled for 6.30 pm as it will be played under flood lights.
Havelock Park will be the only venue that has installed flood lights and the main reason for this is to attract a larger number of spectators after working hours according to officials.
There will be eight teams participating in the A division and at the end of the League stage the first four teams will go on to play for the Cup Championship while the bottom four teams will play for the Plate.
The coaches in charge of each of these teams are of level three qualification and the contention is that the teams will be able to display their best performance.
There will be four women’s teams on display this year. They will play on league and ten-a-side basis. Their time schedule is twenty minutes each half with a five minutes half time break. The teams are from Army, Navy, Air Force and CR&FC.
The B division is also to be revived. Those clubs that have more than 65 players turning up for training can field a side in the B division.
“At the outset, I am obliged to thank the Minister of Sports and his Ministry officials, who played a pivotal role along with Asian and the World Rugby and all other stakeholders who worked tirelessly to get the ban lifted for us. Without their contribution, we wouldn’t have got this ban lifted to play a tournament of this nature.
“As the governing body, we are extremely delighted to kick-start rugby in the country after a lapse of over a year. We are thankful to our sponsor Nippon Paint, who generously came on board for the fourth consecutive year.
“We also appreciate the eight clubs and their officials for consenting to participate in this year’s tournament during challenging times for the country,” said retired Air Force Group Captain Nalin de Silva at a media briefing.
The tournament committee headed by Rear Admiral Udaya Hettiarachchi has decided on a one-week break between December 17 to 28 coinciding with the Christmas season.
“We have decided to schedule the women’s games before the men’s games in December, due to the prevailing weather conditions, where we observe early darkness,” said Hettiarachchi.
Director and General Manager of Nippon Paint, Nemantha Abeysinghe, said they were targeting the country’s youth in taking rugby forward.
“We are very thankful to SLR for inviting us for the fourth consecutive year. Our focus extends to supporting youth and young individuals in various other sporting disciplines,” said Abeysinghe.