By Sachin David
This weekend will feature the second tournament of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series on 24 and 25 September 2011. The SLRFU commenced the training of Sri Lanka National Sevens team for this tournament on Sunday 18 September following the thrilling Kandy vs. Navy Clifford cup final.
The squad has been finalised and they will fly off to Borneo this evening to try and improve Sri Lanka’s ranking in the Asian 7’s circle. The Lankan team toured Shanghai on the 27 and 28 August this year and returned with a dismal performance. The Shanghai sevens squad was led by the Navy star center Dinusha Chaturanga. For the Borneo Sevens, his Navy SC team mate and skipper Yoshitha Rajapaksa will take over the duties as captain. Yoshitha is representing the Sri Lanka Sevens team for the first time in this tournament. It is also the first time he will be captaining a national side.
Rajapaksa will be accompanied by players from the last year’s Borneo Sevens squad including former Sevens skipper Radhika Hettiarachchi. Also in the squad are Anurudda Wilwara and Chanaka Chandimal who earned their Sevens caps last season.
Yoshitha Rajapaksa who is representing Sri Lanka for the first time in the Sevens format will lead an untrained make shift 12-man squad to Borneo for the tournament which is to be played on 24 and 25.
A few fresh faces have also been included in the 12 man squad which includes Navy players Kalana Amarasinghe, Kosala Thisera and Niranjan Wickramaratne and CR winger Heshan Guneratne.
The squad is to be coached by the New Zealand born Ellis Meachen who has taken over the 7’s squad for the second tour.
There are two more tournaments in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series after this one to be played on the 13 and 14 November in Thailand and then on the 19 and 20 November in Goa, India.
Defending champions Hong Kong were drawn with Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Brunei in Pool B of this weekend’s Borneo Sevens in Kota Kinabalu, the second and final ranking event of this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series.
Top seeds Korea, who beat Hong Kong in a dramatic, sudden-death final to win last month’s Shanghai Sevens, were drawn with China, Thailand and Sri Lanka in Pool A of the 12-team event, which will be held from 24-25 September at the 35,000-capacity Likas Stadium in Sabah, East Malaysia.
Third-ranked Japan, whose 15-a-side team are currently competing in the Rugby World Cup, are the top seeds in Pool C, which also features Kazakhstan, Philippines and UAE. The seeding is based on the results of the Shanghai Sevens.