Former Thomian and Havelocks SC player Sudharshana Muthuthanthri will take over the leadership role of the Sri Lanka Sevens outfit which will tour Hong Kong on 29 August.
The former Sri Lanka Sevens skipper who took the national rugby team to second position in Asia, Dhanushka Ranjan, along with Richard Dharmapala, Anurudha Wilwara and Srinarth Sooriyabandara, will all miss out on the tour due to the injuries they sustained during the recently concluded Sri Lanka Super Sevens. The injuries to both Dharmapala and Ranjan are not too serious as they will be fit for the second leg in South Korea.
The first edition of the Asian Sevens 2017 will be worked off at the Kings Park Rugby Grounds on 1 and 2 September. The second leg will be hosted by South Korea in late September while the third and final leg will come to Colombo in mid-October.
Muthuthanthri represented S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia in 2009 and 2010 before joining Havelocks in 2011 before going on to lead the park club in 2013 and 2014. He has been an automatic choice for the national outfit since 2012. He led the Sevens outfit in 2015 when Fazil Marija was forced out due to an injury. Former Thomian skipper and national Under-18 and Under-20 skipper Naveen Heenakankanmge, Buddhima Piyaratne, Sudam Soooriyarachchi and Samith Dhananjaya will be making their Sevens debut at the senior level during this tournament.
Sri Lanka will be in the competition’s toughest group, with Japan and South Korea both likely to send their best outfits since the Asian Sevens Series 2017 winners and runners-up teams will book their berth at the Sevens Rugby World Cup 2018 in San Francisco.
Speaking to the media, former Thomian and Havies rugby star and present head of the national rugby selections committee, Michael Jayasekera, said: “We want to take the best side for this first stage in Hong Kong. We have injury worries to Srinarth, Richard, Ranjan and Wilwara; we want them fully fit for the remainder of the tournament. Ranjan and Dharmapala are both recovering fast and should be fit for the Korean leg. We do not want to risk them. This gives a good opportunity for the youngsters who have done really well at the Under-18 and Under-20 level for the country. We have given space for four of them in the first leg in Hong Kong, investing in the future of national rugby. Heenakankanmge, Sudam, Buddhima and Dhanjaya will be making their Sevens debut at the senior level for the country.”
Sudharshana Muthuthanthri (Capt), Dhanushka Dyan, Sudam Sooriyarachchi, Omalka Gunaratne, Jason Dissnayake, Naveen Heenakankanmge, Tharinda Ratwatte, Kavindu Perera, Buddhima Piyaratne, Chanaka Chandimal and Samith Dananjaya
Non touring stand by
Supun Dilshan, Rehan Silva, Kevin Dixon
Head Coach- Peter Woods
High performance Director Sri Lanka Rugby-Inthi Marikar
Group A - Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Philippines
Group B - Sri Lanka, South Korea, Japan 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)