Sri Lanka Rugby moans passing away of coach George Simpkin | Daily News


Sri Lanka Rugby moans passing away of coach George Simpkin

George Simpkin
George Simpkin

Sri Lanka Rugby yesterday announced with deep sorrow the passing away of former national coach George Simpkin, a New Zealander, after a battle with cancer.

President of Sri Lanka Rugby Lasitha Gunaratne described Simpkin as a high profile figure who made several successful predictions over the future of international rugby especially with regard to the Sevens game.

"He (Simpkin) was very successful in whatever changes he thought was necessary for the future of international rugby especially in the Sevens format and today we see the results of his work," said Gunaratne.

Simpkin was credited with introducing rugby to China which is now a force in Asia as well as being the first national coach of football-mad Germany.

Simpkin coached both the Sri Lanka men's Sevens as well as the 15-a-side teams.

Hafiz Marikar adds:

George Simpkin legendry rugby coach died at his home in Matamatra, New Zealand on Thursday morning at the age of 77.

George as he was popularly known was the first coach of Kandy SC. He later coached Sri Lanka and also China and Germany. He is the man who re-structured Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) when Asanga Seneviratne was the president. He was also instrumental in organizing the Hong Kong Sevens which was a famous tournament and one of the best sevens stopover in the world.

Later George was involved with the Singer-SriLankan sevens which was organized by Kandy SC, he was well backed by Malik Samarawickrema and Iswan Omar and later was the Head of Carlton Rugby Sevens.

George is renowned for being chiefly instrumental in getting Hong Kong's development programme on track when he was technical director and coach from 1988 to 1997.

He led Fiji to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1987, was the mastermind when Hong Kong reached the Cup quarter-finals at the Hong Kong Sevens in 1989 and was also the pioneer behind China's entry into world rugby. Simpkin and his wife left Hong Kong in 1997 and decided to retire in Sri Lanka where he lived in the central hill capital of Kandy where they made a number of friends through his business interests, but he soon found himself Sri Lankan national coach.

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