Eighteen teams will be in fray for honours at the inaugural Governor’s Cup Under-24 rugby sevens tournament which will be worked off at the Race Course Stadium on November 18( Saturday) commencing at 7.45 a.m.
After the relaxation of the ban imposed by World Rugby (WR), the Rugby loving fraternity of the country will gain the opportunity of witnessing a tournament involving the young talents both men and women from the nine provines in the country.
This initiative was made possible by the Western Province Governor Marshal of the Air Force Roshan Gunethilleke who was quite magnanimous to restart the oval shaped ball game in collaboration with Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR). Unlike some of the previous tournaments this event is precise to grant an opportunity especially for the schools leavers and other players who are knocking t at he doors to compete at the top level.
“We can see 80 percent of the players representing schools have left the game after existing their educational career due to various reasons.
We feel there is no sufficient tournaments played. With eight clubs competing in the top rugby league and only limited number of players will get the opportunity to play for them. Except for one club in Central Province all the other clubs are located in the Western Province. This also has been a draw back for some of the talented players giving up the game due to various logistical issue.
Hence, to overcome this situation I consulted the Group Captain Nalin de Silva the SLR Presdent how we could make an initiative to bridge this gap by playing a tournament involving the nine provinces. He responded swiftly with a plan to make this a reality.”
“Our aim is to increase the number of players playing this game from the present scenario and to wide spread the game in the all nine provinces without limiting to few. This tournament is played in under-24 age category and it is mandatory that three of the players will have to be under-21 years of age.
This will enable the school leavers an opportunity to show case their talents. The other unique factor of this event is that from the next tournament all other Provinces will be given a chance to host in their province which is a very productive sign for the game. The players both men and women in that province will get an opportunity to play.” Said Roshan Gunethilleke.
The nine men’s and equal number of women team will lock horns in this tournament where the SLR has decided to deny the A division players in order to give the other players to compete in this tournament. All matches are to be conducted as per thr WR rules and regulations with the Sri Lanka Rugby Referees are to officiate the matches with the Men’s matches are officiated by the male the ladies games are done by Lady referees respectively.
The winning teams and the best players are to receive many awards. “We are extremely delighted to kick start rugby in the country after the suspension. With the novel idea of Roshan Gunethilleke the Governor, we got on board to wide spread the game in the country with the participation of the nine provinces.
When the world is celebrating 200 of Rugby history and SLR is celebrating 145 years, this tournament too will get in to history books. After this year’s tournament, all other eight provinces will get the opportunity to host it annually where it will be played for Challenge Cup the “Governor’s Cup”. “
“I thanks the Governor for coming forward to inaugurate a tournament of this nature and showing keenness in wide speading and developing the game which he loved most.
We as the Governing Body have made all endeavors to make this a successful event with the support of our sponsors.” conclided Group Captain Nalin de Silva.