“We want to correct ourselves and move forward for next tournament”: Setefano

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Sri Lanka Men’s Rugby outfit, under Fazil Marija, secured fourth place finish at the maiden Asian Sevens series 2014 which was played in Hong Kong. Sri Lanka, after defeating China and Taipei in the first round on the opening day, had a tough outing on the second day. Sri Lanka defeated Malaysia in the Cup quarter-finals and in the semi-finals was defeated by Hong Kong and later on by Japan in the third place playoff. The women’s team ended as Plate winners retaining the fifth position in Hong Kong, which they achieved in last year’s Asian Sevens rankings. It was very tough for the local lads who played three games on the second day. Sri Lanka Head Coach Setefano Cakau, the former Fiji national skipper, Navy SC and Western Warriors player said; “We had lot of tournaments running up to this one in Hong Kong. It would have been better if the local tournaments such as the two local and two International tournaments of Carlton were placed in order for the Asian series. The Carlton sevens was very competitive with some outstanding overseas players who participated. “We will be making a few changes and facing the next tournament in Malaysia in two weeks-time and probably Srinath Sooriyabandara too will be fit for the next leg. His miss was badly felt here in Hong Kong as he is so good in defense as well as in attack.” Fazil Marija told the Daily FT; “The boys gave their best on the initial day. We stuck to our plans, ran the ball wide and won both the games very easily. The second day was tough but we beat Malaysia loaded with three Fijians in their playing team. We played well and got the better of them. Against Hong Kong, we committed too many errors and they were too hard and heavy. They made us commit too many tackles and we did not mark man to man.” He added that the team will focus on its mistakes with a few more changes for the next leg in Malaysia. Chairman of Women’s Rugby Col. Dhammika Gunasekera said; “We badly need a sponsor. The girls are playing really well with more exposure and we will be in the top three in Asia. I would like to thank Asanga Seneviratne at Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLFRU) for the support given to these girls through his funding.” Women’s Team Head Coach Former Sri Lankan Winger Chandrishan Perera said; “We need some big institution to come and prop up with women’s rugby in Sri Lanka. These girls are really good and we can take them to the next level with more support.” Junior Rugby Asiad Meanwhile, the Junior Rugby Asiad is very likely to be hosted in Colombo at the Race Course rugby grounds and the likely dates discussed at present are 21-28 September. Sri Lanka, Taipei, Hong Kong and Korea will battle it out in the tournament with each team playing two matches and the first match will be according to their current rankings. Earlier this was to be staged in Kandy but due to unknown reasons this will be staged in Colombo instead. Kandy has all the required facilities and one of the best grounds in the country is at Nittawela with the dressing room facilities and excellent hotels for the visiting teams. From 1999-2006, the Singer Sri Lankan Sevens tournament was organised by the Kandy Sports Club with more than 15 overseas teams participating. The spectator interest is high with packed stadiums watching rugby. The last time too, it was hosted in Colombo (two years ago) at Havelock Park with Randika Alwis leading the national youth team. If the SLRFU is to promote rugby it should take the game out of Colombo. Playing the Carlton Sevens in Kurunegala, Beliatta and Koggala was an excellent example for this.