Sri Lanka won the Division 1 in China during 2019
By Shamseer Jaleel
Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR), headed by Rizly Ilyas and his committee, is doing everything possible in order to ensure the participation of the national Under 19 XVs rugby outfit in the postponed Asia Rugby 2020 tournament, which is now scheduled to take place in Taipei in April. The event was originally scheduled for December 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19.
SLR had already met with the Sports Council headed by former Test cricketer Mahela Jayawardena and his team. With a majority of Under 19 eventually playing for clubs and then later for the national senior team, the Under 19 outfit is seen by many as a feeder team. According to reliable sources, three teams – namely Colombo, Kandy and Galle – are to be formed, initially in order to select the final touring squad. With the safety bubbles required as per COVID regulations, and the safety of players and officials paramount, a huge sum is expected for this purpose. SLR has already requested for support from the Sports Ministry with regard to PCR tests, food and accommodation for players, along with local transport. Dialog is expected to partially sponsor this tour. Timing however has become a major concern, as the lack of schools rugby at present has meant that training needs to start soon if the tour is to go ahead.
SLR has already written to Taipei Rugby Union with regard to the tour and the health conditions which will be required to be adhered to therein. The Sports Ministry, like in previous years, is expected to partially support the tour. Hong Kong are the defending champions and will defend their crown against South Korea, Taipei and Sri Lanka. The winner of the event will secure a berth in the Junior World Rugby Tournament (JWRT) 2021 Division 1 as the Asian representative. Sri Lanka won Division 1 in the Asia Rugby Under 19 tournament in China and thus qualified for this event. The outfit was coached by Viper (jr.) Gunaratne, with Rohitha Rajapakse and Rajeev Perera assisting him on tour.
AR Under 19 XV-2021
Sri Lanka vs Hong Kong
Taipei vs South Korea
Sri Lanka vs South Korea
Hong Kong vs Taipei
Sri Lanka vs Taipei
Hong Kong vs South Korea
Sri Lanka Under 19 in action aganist China in 2019