By Harsha Amarasinghe
The national rugby selectors did not attend any of the practice sessions carried out prior to the Commonwealth Games according to the High Performance Director of Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) Inthi Marikar.
“The national selectors have selected the squad, but they did not come for any single practice session,” Marikar toldDaily Mirror.
Meanwhile, the national selection committee chairman Michael Jayasekara claimed that they ‘did miss a few practice sessions.’
“I have been to the ground most of the times, but yes I did miss a few practice sessions because I am working full-time which makes it difficult for me to attend practice sessions that are conducted at 10a.m and 1p.m. Anyway, I don’t believe that selectors attending the training sessions could have a huge impact on the selections because it’s during games that you have to judge players. The fitness of the players is tested before we select the squad anyway. It’s very unfortunate that no selector is allowed to go on tours because as a selector you need to watch them play, not practice,” Jayasekara said in an interview with Daily Mirror.
Daily Mirror understands that there was certainly a dispute between the selectors and the coaching staff on the selection of the 7’s squad that has travelled to Commonwealth Games. Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) President Asanga Senevirathne on the other hand revealed that his association is trying their level best to put things together.
“I think the selectors and the coaching staff need to communicate better. The problem we have at the moment is that they don’t seem to agree on certain decisions with regard to selections. The selectors must attend all the training sessions in order to select the best squad, and the coaching staff should also understand the sort of influence they could have on the selection. We actually had about five meetings over this issue and hopefully we can put things together,” Sri Lanka Rugby President told Daily Mirror.
In response to the allegations that suggested Marikar requested the selectors and the Sports Ministry to remove Kandy’s Richard Dharmapala and Srinath Sooriyabanda from the touring squad, the former Kandy and CR player said that he has no ‘personal problems with Kandy Sports Club.’
“I have no problem with Kandy Sports Club whatsoever. In fact I am in contact with most of the people connected to the Club. What my only concerned was that the squad we had for Borneo 7’s did an exceptional job and when a team does very well, you don’t want to make too many changes to that,” Marikar stated.