Sri Lanka Rugby outlines future work plan | Daily News


 

Sri Lanka Rugby outlines future work plan

Rizly Illyas, President, SLR (fourth from left) briefs the media on their future programmes at a press conference held in Colombo. Also in the picture (from left) - Dilroy Fernando, Consultant Training and Education, SLR, Jude Dimithri, Secretary, SLR, Rear Admiral Deshapriya Hettiarachchi, Vice President, SLR and Womens Development Committee Chairman, Ranjith Weerasinghe, Director, SLR 7's, Nazeem Mohamed, Deputy President, SLR and Tournament Committee Chairman, Kevin Herft, Executive Director, SLR.

Rizly Illyas, President, SLR (fourth from left) briefs the media on their future programmes at a press conference held in Colombo. Also in the picture (from left) - Dilroy Fernando, Consultant Training and Education, SLR, Jude Dimithri, Secretary, SLR, Rear Admiral Deshapriya Hettiarachchi, Vice President, SLR and Womens Development Committee Chairman, Ranjith Weerasinghe, Director, SLR 7's, Nazeem Mohamed, Deputy President, SLR and Tournament Committee Chairman, Kevin Herft, Executive Director, SLR.

Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) headed by incumbent President Rizly Illyas, and his team of officials, revealed their immediate work plan which they hope to execute to revamp rugby in the country, which was disclosed at a press briefing held in Colombo, yesterday.

After being elected to office uncontested at the Annual General Meeting held last month, Illyas briefed the media about the new plan they have drafted to conduct the new look domestic tournament, which has prioritized promoting the seven-a-side rugby arena. This proposal will be submitted to the relevant authorities for their perusal and final approval.

“From the inception, I wanted to have a change in all our activities. As an initiative, I got my team which will work indefatigably towards achieving the goals. We have some strategic plans segregated among my team members who will strive hard in developing the game to the next level,” said a confident looking Illyas, who is to embark on the all important aspect of finding sponsors in the upcoming weeks.

“While preparing our domestic tournament calendar, we are also in the process of doing the spade work in formulating the documents to meet the Sports Minister to get his blessings and support. We are pretty confident he will not only help us, but also guide us on the right path,” added Illyas.

Briefing the media Nazeem Mohamed, the Deputy President and the Tournament Committee Chairman, emphasized on the importance of prioritizing the sevens tournament by pruning down the time span of the 15-a-side tournament to 11 weeks from 18 weeks. The whole idea behind the reduction is to give more prominence to sevens rugby where Sri Lanka has shown great potential in reaching the pinnacle.

The domestic tournament will kick off with the commencement of the sevens tournament at the end of October, and will comprise two legs - Colombo and Southern Province respectively. All matches are to scrum down only on Friday’s and Saturdays commencing from 4.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. each day under lights. SLR is to accommodate a limited number of spectators provided the concerned authorities grant them permission. They will make adequate arrangements to live stream the matches on internet based channels, while telecasting in some channels, which will be notified in due course. The eight ‘A’ division teams and six women’s teams will be in the fray for honours.

SLR has also drawn up a plan to popularize the game in the outstation. As an initiative they will play the remaining two legs in Kandy and Radella, for which dates and venues will be notified later.

The SLR Tournament Committee is to reintroduce the under-24 XV-a-side tournament which was withdrawn from their annual calendar for the last decade. They are mainly focusing to accommodate the school leavers who were forced to give up rugby soon after school due to stiff competition to get into clubs. This too will involve the ‘A’ division clubs where the competition will be completed in six weeks, and which will be more or less a semi league. This tournament is to scrum down in mid-January.

The Dialog Rugby League is scheduled to commence in the latter part of February, and at the completion of the first round the eight teams will be divided into two groups depending on their performance. The top four will play each other and proceed to the “Cup Championship” while the bottom four will compete in the “Plate Championship” and the respective winners will be honoured as Cup and Plate winners. The super round which was played until last season will be scrapped from the tournament calendar. The prestigious Clifford Cup will be held soon after this tournament in Colombo next year.

Meanwhile, HAUD Hettiarachchi, who is the Vice President and the Chairman, Women’s Development Committee, elaborated on women’s rugby. They too have drawn up several programmes with a view of spreading the game to all provinces. There are over 150 schools playing the game in this segment currently and they are in the process of increasing it to 250 schools. With a view of developing this entity they are scheduled to conduct over 70 tournaments in the 2020/21 season to unearth hidden talent to form a strong National side. Hettiarachchi was very confident of achieving his target with the support of his colleagues.

SLR introduced two new faces in their ranks, with the inclusion of big business tycoon and great rugby lover Ranjith Weerasinghe as Director SLR, sevens arena, and Kevin Herft, as Executive Director of SLR replacing Rohan de Silva.


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