By Shamseer Jaleel
Sri Lanka will have to do without the service of experienced sevens Captain, Sudarshana Muthuthanthri, and the most feared player in Asian Sevens Rugby from Sri Lanka, Dhanushka Ranjan, as both will be missing the first leg of the Asian Sevens Series 2018, which will take place in Hong Kong on 14 and 15 September.
The three-leg event winners and runners-up on aggregate will get their berth for the 2019 Hong Kong Sevens, which will take place in April next year among the world’s leading 16 plus 12 emerging outfits.
Muthu is likely to be out for the first and the second leg in South Korea on 29 and 30 September while Ranjan is likely to return for the Korean leg.
Meanwhile, experienced scrum half Srinath Soori will lead the outfit at the Hong Kong leg next weekend, which will be the first for the former Isipathana scrum half. Jason Dissanayake and Tharinda Ratwatte, too, have pulled out of the Hong Kong leg.
This vacuum has offered an opening for players knocking hard at the door. Kevin Dixon, Naveen Henakankanamage and Rehan Silva will be making their comebacks into the senior squad.
Adeesha Weeratunge and former Antonian skipper Dinuk Amerasinghe, too, will join the squad in Hong Kong. Dinuk displayed a superb performance at the Asian Under-20 Sevens in Hong Kong last month.
Squad: Srinath Sooriyabandara (Captain), Gayan Weeraratne, Danushka Dyan (all from Kandy SC); Kavindu Perera, Reza Rafaideen, Kevin Dixon, Rehan Silva (all from CR and FC); Naveen Henakankanamage, Sudam Sooriyarachchi (both from CH and FC); Buddhima Piyarathane and Adeesha Weeratunga (both from Navy SC); Dinuk Amerasinghe (Havelock SC).
Head Coach – Peter Woods (New Zealand)