Dialog Asia Sevens Series 2021
By Ranil Prematilake in Dubai
Sri Lankan men’s coaching combination of Ben Gollings of
international repute, Nilfer Ibrahim, an unassuming but a shrewd and master
tactician of sevens rugby, and Saliya Kumara, a fast learner, knowing very well
the difficult task ahead of them, have boldly taken upon themselves the
responsibility of drilling a set of players relatively inexperienced to be
competitive at regional level.
With the best available selected and full fitness of the squads confirmed, Sri Lanka men’s and women’s teams take to field this afternoon at the Dubai Sports City in its quest to seek qualification for the Rugby World Cup Sevens next year in Cape Town, South Africa. Sources confirmed: “The best have been selected; the only issue if at all is the concern of restart of the game happening after a long period of time. Players are in a positive frame of mind. The two practice sessions were quite productive.”
First in action today would be the Sri Lanka women’s team against Malaysia at 3:06 p.m. (Sri Lanka time), a game that stands the best chance of a win for the girls. The men’s team gets into action first up against the mighty Japanese at 4.12 p.m. The Lankan girls face China at 5:54 p.m. before completing the round robin games under lights at 9:21 p.m. against Hong Kong.
Sri Lankan men lock horns with hosts United Arab Emirates at 7:44 p.m. and the day’s last game sees the Tuskers and China battle it out at 10:54 p.m.
Today’s event will see Sri Lanka’s legendary 59-year-old Dilroy Fernando serving as a Performance Reviewer appointed by Asia Rugby (AR). Dilroy a vastly experienced match official has been discharging duties at Asian rugby competitions in various capacities over the years and holds the envious credentials of having refereed in 25 international XV a side games and in over 20 7’s competitions.
Commenting on the two young referees in Aaqil Jamaldeen and Dilum Deeshana, who have been selected from Sri Lanka for this premier Asian Rugby tournament, Fernando maintained thus: “After about five years Sri Lanka has got the opportunity of having two referees officiating at an Asian Rugby top competition. Recently both of them were with me in Qatar (West Asia 7’s). We must work towards having at least five referees serving in Asia Rugby panels. In early 2000’s we had seven referees serving in different panels in Asia Rugby.”
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