The Sri Lanka Sevens rugby squad suffered a major blow just days before the Hong Kong leg of the Asian Sevens 2017 with one of its most experienced Asian Sevens players, Chanaka Chandimal, forced to pull out of competition due to illness.
His place will be taken over by former Peterite and Sri Lanka Under-20 skipper Kevin Dixon. The Sri Lanka outfit under Sudharshana Muthuthanthri left the island last night to take part in the first leg which will take place at the Kings Park Rugby Stadium in Kowloon on 1 and 2 September.
Speaking to Daily FT, Sri Lanka High Performance Coaching Director and former Sri Lanka Sevens and Fifteens player Inthi Marikar said: “We had good preparation with the team at training sessions in Radella where the climate was similar to Hong Kong during this part of the year. All of the selected 18 were fit and in their peak form and performed their best at training. We have a few injury worries with senior players but we need to look at the future of Sri Lanka rugby. All these young lads on tour richly deserve their national jersey and they have worked very hard to earn their places and national jersey. This year’s Asian Sevens series will be of importance as the top two sides after the completion of the three-leg event will book their places at the 2018 Rugby World Cup (RWC) Sevens in San Francisco. All the sides will be filled with their top-ranked Sevens players. We have two top opponents in our group in South Korea and Japan.”
“We got very good support from Sri Lanka Rugby with Asanga Seneviratne and his team propping us up. We will do our level best on this tour.”
Group A - Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and the Philippines
Group B – Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea and Taipei
Sri Lanka vs. Japan (11.00 a.m. Sri Lanka time)
Sri Lanka vs. Taipei (1.30 p.m. Sri Lanka time)
Sri Lanka vs. South Korea (4.22 p.m. Sri Lanka time)