Asian Sevens Hong Kong 2018
The Sri Lanka Women’s Sevens outfit ended the first leg of the Asian Sevens 2018 in Hong Kong on a high note when they accounted for the Plate (fifth position) at Happy Valley last weekend.
They returned to the country delayed by a day due to the typhoon that persisted in Hong Kong over the last two days.
Women’s Head Coach Sudath Sampath, speaking to Daily FT in Hong Kong, said: “We played this tournament after a lapse of nearly six months, playing sides like Korea, Kazakhstan, and China after nearly 11 months. We trained hard for this event but these girls need more international match exposure. More Sevens tournaments in the Asian Region at least should be arranged for them. This will give them the opportunity to find out their errors and to use a better combination in play at Asian Series. This will help the girls to perform better in future tournaments.”
Sampath further said: “Compared to day one, our girls settled down and played better rugby with the progress of the tournament on day two. This shows they are fast learners and do better with experience. We will learn from our mistakes in the first leg and prepare ourselves for the second one in South Korea, and then in Colombo. Further, we need to see the grooming of youngsters to feed this squad. I am sure Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) will support us in finding new players from the provinces.”
Sampath ended by thanking the sponsor, SAGT, for propping up women’s rugby for a long time, saying that without their support, they wouldn’t have achieved this feat.
Sri Lanka Men’s performed well, too, ending third after three of their players sustained injuries at this tournament during the last two matches. Kavindu Perera, Gayan Weeraratne and Adeesha Weeratunge suffered injuries. Despite these injuries, the Sri Lanka Men’s team ended behind Japan and Hong Kong in the first leg of Asian Sevens.
Speaking to Daily FT, Sri Lanka Head Coach Peter Woods (NZ) said: “Our lads played well despite injuries, missing out on the seniors back at home, missing out on the tour plus the three injuries during the last two vital games against the Philippines and Hong Kong. To end third, I am happy with the end results. A few more players will come back, provided they perform well at training since the majority of these guys played well here in Hong Kong.”
“Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR), under the new management, have been putting things in order and supporting us. We want to look to the future as we have two more legs in South Korea and Colombo,” he added.
Pix by Thushith Wijedoru