By Shehan Daniel
Rajeev Perera and Lasintha De Costa were yesterday appointed as coaches of the Sri Lanka Under-20 Rugby Team for next month’s Asian Rugby Championship play-off against Hong Kong.
This is in line with Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) President Asanga Seneviratne’s thinking to put in place a professional set-up where coaches are committed to National rugby in the long run.
“Nowhere in the world do you have school and club coaches coaching a National Team. This is something that we are trying to stop so that we can have a professional National set-up. We want to move the past having these coaches who are otherwise heavily involved in coaching, where in some cases, it could create a conflict of interest (when coaching school teams). We’re looking for coaches who can make a long-term commitment, of two or three years, and that is difficult for those involved with schools and clubs,” Seneviratne said.
Seneviratne also said he hope to break away from the past practice of appointing schools’ League and Cup winning coaches of the most recent season to these positions.
The only exception, Seneviratne confirmed, was Sanath Martis - who coached Royal College to the schools’ League title earlier this year - but he turned down the offer which the SLR President said was ‘the right decision’.
De Costa was the Coach of Isipathana College last season while Rajeew Perera was the Assistant Coach of the National Sevens Rugby Team and also played the same role with the St. Peter’s College Under-20 Rugby Team, overlooking the Under-18 Team as well.
Despite their involvement in coaching school teams, both coaches have been given these positions, overlooking another candidate, Nilfer Ibrahim, who led St. Joseph’s College to the President’s Trophy knock-out title.
The Asian Championships will be played over two legs in Sri Lanka (December 10) and in Hong Kong (December 16) with a place at the Junior World Rugby Tournament at stake.