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Unfair format for Club Rugby: Sean Wijesinghe


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By Shamseer Jaleel

Former Trinity Number 8, Sri Lanka flanker, National Fifteens’ skipper, and present Kandy SC Head Coach Sean Wijesinghe feels the new system adopted at the last Council meeting of Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) is unfair for most of the clubs.

Speaking to Daily FT, he said: “This would be my personal opinion on foreign players, not as the official from Kandy. I’m not speaking on behalf of my club. I think as a former national captain, I do believe I have the right to express my opinions on this matter. If foreign players are recruited for the local domestic league on the grounds of uplifting the standards, and provide the best return on sponsorship money, it might be just a good start. However, saying that, it has to be fair.

“It is obvious that last year’s bottom four teams have made a few very good recruitments, and led themselves to be tougher than the previous year, because of which some of the top four have become weaker, to a certain extent. So it is clearly not the best start to begin with. One example is that Havies lost the majority of their players to other clubs. Also what would happen after the first round finishes? I’m pretty sure the tables will turn around. However, in the second round the bottom four teams will not get the same benefit, which is clearly the strengths of this year’s teams, which is a concern. If SLR is funding the foreign players, they should pay the same amount for all 8 teams. As far as the funds are concerned, it is the right thing to do.”

Speaking further, Wijesinghe said: “Playing with foreign players in key positions will affect Sri Lankan rugby. There won’t be opportunities for cultivating good talent in the system, and when we go to play at Asian or International level, we will struggle to fill in these positions with experienced players. The best example is Japan, they kept the core always local, to develop their game.

“I’m pretty sure after the first round finishes, whoever thinks they don’t have a shot at the cup, they will try and become the bottom four, will not play to their best potential, so that next season they can get foreigners. The above pointers are certain things to think about if we want to have a fair and competitive full season until the last week. There’s always positive and negatives - it’s up to the administration to have a proper plan to develop rugby, where we will one day compete at the international stage. Whatever the decision, it will be respected.|

Sean ended saying: “Once again this is purely my opinion. I’m not speaking for Kandy Sports club or on their behalf.”


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