SLRFU prepares to field team for Junior Rugby Asiad
Schools RFA invited to assist

by Ravi Nagahawatte
After a lapse of many years, officials of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA), might find themselves being actively involved in the preparations for the forthcoming Junior Asian Rugby Championship, to be staged in Japan.

It is a known fact that the governing body, for rugby in schools, was sidelined in the past, due to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) taking the sole authority for team selections upon themselves.

But all this will change, says SLRFU Secretary Shane Dullewa, who told ‘The Island’ that the school’s section will be invited to get involved in the preparations for the tournament.

"I don’t want to talk about the past. I have told the school’s section to co-operate with us. They can help us to get good players for selections. This will help the selectors to have a wider selection of players", said Dullewa.

However, Dullewa stressed that the Asian Junior Rugby Championship is conducted by the Asian Rugby Football Union, which makes it work in association with the SLRFU and not with the school’s rugby section.

The president of the SLSRFA, Upali Gunasekara, said, when contacted, said that the present officials of the SLRFU had shown some courtesy, unlike in the past by inviting officials of the schools section for a meeting.

"We will be only too happy to help them if they require our services." said Gunasekara, who also happens to be the Principal of Isipatana Maha Vidyalaya.

Dullewa said that players who meet the age requirements of the tournament will be considered for selection, even though they may not be schoolboys.

He also specified that even players who are not citizens of this country can make themselves eligible for selection if their parents or grandparents are Sri Lankans.

"This provision has been specified in the rules of the tournament. So, we have sent invitations to international school’s" said Dullewa.

Tikiri Marambe, chairman selectors, when contacted, said that the initial trials to pick a pool will be held on Sep-tember 29 and 30.

"A pool of 45 will be selected. This pool will be trained by Asanga Seneviratne. Anyone who is interested can get in touch with the Rugby Union’s administrative secretary", said Marambe.

Sri Lanka finished third in last ye-ar’s championship, which was staged in Sri Lanka, and qualified to play in the World Cup, which took place in Chile.