Dialog Professional Rugby Sevens:
Air Force and Army out to give of their best
Plate champions of the Radella Sevens and semi-finalists of the Cup
Championship of the Colombo ‘Sevens’ last year Sri Lanka Army and plate
champions of last year’s Colombo ‘Sevens’ Sri Lanka Air Force have been
training hard during the last few days and should create some major
upsets at the Dialog Professional Rugby Sevens which will be worked off
at Bogambara Stadium on February 16 and 17, 2008. It will be sponsored
by Dialog Television.
The Sri Lanka Army have always been a force to be reckoned with in
Club Rugby Sevens and should give another sterling display at this
Seasoned campaigners Manoj Silva, K.K. Perera and Kapila Knowlton
will play in the pack while Duminda Wickremaratne, Sri Lanka Sevens
player Asanka Perera, Lankatilleke and that powerful runner Saliya
Handapangoda (the find of the season last year) will be the three
quarters for Army who came close to winning the Rugby Sevens Title in
1995 - losing by a whisker (16-18) to Havelocks in the final.
The Sri Lanka Air Force runners up of the second Leg of the Singer
Professional Sevens at Ratgama in 2006 when they went down fighting to
CR and FC (29-36) in the final too have been training hard under the
watchful eyes of their dedicated coach Wasil Hafeel and are determined
to give of their best.
Last year’s skipper Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Sirej Niranga and former
Sri Lanka poolist Suranga Arunashantha will be the forwards while
Radeesha Seneviratne (scrum half), Nalin Sirisena (fly half), Chanaka
Chandimal and former Sri Lanka Sevens player Rohan Fernando will play in
the back division.
Kandy Sports Club which has won the Club Rugby Sevens title for six
years in a row will be the favourites to clinch the Dialog Television
Trophy and will field a virtual national team with players of the
calibre of Pradeep Liyanage (captain), Imran Bisthamin, Dushanth Lewke,
Eranda Weerakkody, Saliya Kumara, Fazil Marija, Sanjeeva Jayasinghe and
Sri Lanka youth player Kusal Rankothge.
Their closest challengers will be CR and FC which is studded with
national players - Amjad Buksh (captain), Ashan de Costa, Lasintha de
Costa, Dinesh Kumara, Ashen Karthelis, Anuradha Dharmatilleke, Mohamed
Sheriff, ex-Sri Lanka flanker Danushka Perera and last year’s Kandy SC
winger Mohamed Jabbar.
CH and FC is the other team capable of clinching the title. Under the
leadership of Sri Lanka winger Lakala Perera the Maitland Crescent club
will have the services of national players Achala Perera, Dinesh
Sanjeewa, Dilanka Wijesekera and talented youngsters Tuan Shamrock,
Matheesha de Silva and Niranjan Wickremaratne.
Past winners - 1977 (CR and FC), 1978 and 1979 (Havelocks) 1980 (CH
and FC), 1981 (Havelocks), 1982 and 1983 (CR and FC), 1984 (no
tournament), 1985 (Police), 1986 and 1987 (Havelocks), 1988 and 1989
(Police), 1990 (no tournament), 1991 to 1994 (CH and FC), 1995 (Havelocks),
1996 (CR and FC), 1997 and 1998 (CH and FC), 1999 (Kandy SC), 2000 and
2001 (Havelocks), 2002 to 2007 (Kandy SC).