Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 30 March 2014





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Sri Lanka lose to Fiji (0-56) and Wales (12-47)

Sri Lanka continued their losing streak at the 38th edition of the HSBC Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens when they suffered two more defeats in the hands of defending Hong Kong Sevens champions Fiji (56-0) and then later on to Wales (47-12) yesterday at the Hong Kong Rugby grounds in Causeway Bay.

It was wet conditions at Causeway Bay, ball handling was made difficult. After the first day's defeat to Kenya the Lankans looked an improved side but still a long way to go in sevens rugby. Though the Lankans outfit ended in number three slot at the Asian Sevens series last year behind Japan and Hong Kong the boys need a continuous programme in rugby where the rest of the sides are playing their 7th tournament this year around the globe in the ongoing Sevens circuit.

Sri Lanka's Yoshitha Rajapaksa sends out a pass to a teammate in the Pool A match against Fiji with the Lankans lost 0-56 in the Hong Kong Sevens at the Causway Bay
Stadium yesterday. Pic Dennis Muthuthanthri

Sri Lanka played well in the initial half well attacking on Fiji half and almost scored once in the first three minutes of the game. Shenal Dias did not take the field due to his ankle injury which he sustained in the Kenya game on the opening day. For Fiji two players who represented the Navy SC in the inter club league namely Joeli Lutumailagi and Stefano Cakau were in the starting line-up for the pacific Islanders. Fiji after settling in late opened the flood gates and it was one-way traffic as the defending Hong Kong champions showed no mercy towards Sri Lanka who are participating after a lapse of five years. At half time Fiji led 21-0 with three unanswered tries.

In the second half Sandun Herath was yellow carded. Playing against one man less Fiji kept on attacking and it was one way traffic as the Pacific Islanders scored at will crossing the Lankan line five times to end the game 56-0 which was the highest score of this year's tournament to date.

Fazil and Yoshitha were replaced by Sudharshan Muthuthanthri and Saliya Kumara in the later half. The game was handled by South African Ben Crouse.

In the second outing yesterday Sri Lanka fought back gallantly to go down to Wales 47-12. Mithun Hapugoda scored both tries. First move was initiated by Fazil Marija covering nearly 40 metres and the other try was initiated by nippy scrum half Srinath Sooriyabandara who covered a good 50 metres before sending out the pass to Mithun to score under the posts. Sri Lanka once again was sloppy in defense conceding four tries in the initial half.

Referee Federico Anselmi of Argentina handled the game.

Sri Lanka head coach Nilfer Ibrahim speaking to Sunday Observer said that "Boys played well compared to day one as only four players having previous Hong Kong Sevens experience and this is one of the best tournaments in the world. I am sure these new lads from our team would have got some very good exposure playing in front of a packed 40,000 stadium. This is the first time for them in life. We need to give them a chance and it's a learning curve for them as well. He ended by saying with these kind of International sevens exposure we will be competitive in the near future.

Sri Lanka will meet Samoa in the Bowl Quarter final game at 8.14 am today Sri Lankan time.

Sevens World qualifyer

Uruguay beat Trinidad & Tobago 28-5, Tunisia beat Amercian Samoa 14-5, Chile beat Barbados 29-0, Japan beat Cook Islands 26-7, Hong Kong beat Italy 19-0, Zimbabwe beat Russia 14-8.

Hong Kong Sevens

New Zealand beat Samoa 26-7, Scotland beat USA 15-10, England beat Portugal 21-7, Canada beat Argentina 14-7, South Africa beat Spain 22-14, Australia beat France 26-0, Fiji beat Sri Lanka 56-0, Wales beat Kenya 10-7, Samoa beat Scotland 19-14, Argentina beat Portugal 19-7, France beat Spain 14-10, Wales beat Sri Lanka 47-12


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