Under 20 Asian Rugby Championships in Thailand
SLRFU predicts toughest ever rugby challenge for Sri Lanka



By Ravi Nagahawatte

Sri Lanka will face its toughest ever challenge at the Asian Under 20 Rugby Championships, the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) told the media at a press conference held in connection with the upcoming tournament at the rugby union office in Colombo yesterday.

Lasitha Guneratne, Vice President SLRFU, said that Sri Lanka will first play South Korea and if victorious faces the winners of the Japan vs Singapore match. Japan is contesting the Asian Championships this year because it didn’t have automatic selection for the World Cup on the grounds it lost some World Cup Qualifying matches recently. This year’s Asian Rugby Championships will be hosted by Thailand August 22-28.

Japan’s presence at this year’s Asian Tournament seeds it as the tournament’s top ranked team and all other teams will be relegated one place each in a bid to accommodate the rugby giant. Sri Lanka finished third at last year’s Asian Championships, but at present, is ranked as the fourth best team in the tournament.

Guneratne said that Sri Lanka had to win both games if it wished to see itself finishing amongst the top four or five teams in Asia.

Sri Lanka under 20 captain Shenal Dias said that he hoped his side would emulate last year’s feat where the ‘Lions’ beat South Korea, in possibly what many felt was the shock of the tournament . "A key factor is the team gelling together and if this is possible we will do well," the Sri Lanka captain said.

Nasser Abdul Majeed who spoke on behalf of the team’s sponsor Singer Sri Lanka said that his company got involved in rugby because it felt school rugby was very exhilarating. "Singer expects Sri Lanka to perform well at the tournament," Majeed said.

Sri Lanka will make the line-up of teams along with Japan, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.


Sri Lanka Under 20 squad- Shenal Dias (Captain), Kanchana Ramanayake, Keith Gurusinghe, Steve Nelson, Banuka Nanayakkara, Tarindu Rajaguru, Rajitha Sansoni, Prasad Devinda, Anjula de Silva, Shehan Pathirana, Abdul Murad, Prabath Jayalath, Asitha Ratnayake, Mushin Faleel, Kasun Jayasuriya, Chethiya Wadugodapitiya, Azmil Omar, Chamara Dabare, Tharindu Chanaka, Mayura Sanjeewa, Anurudhdha Willawara, Mohammed Nizmy, Soyuru Anthony, Sudharshan Muthuthanri.

Sanath Martis (Coach), Nihal Guneratne (Assistant coach), SW. Chang (Manager), W.M Dharmaratne (Physio)


Nasser Majeed Marketing Director Singer Sri Lanka Ltd hands over the documents as the sponsor for the Sri Lanka Under 20 team for the upcoming Asian Championships to SLRFU President Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunatilake at a press conference held in connection with the tournament at the SLRFU headquarters in Colombo. (Nihal Chandrakumara)

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