By Susil Premalal
Prize money to the tune of one million rupees will be on offer to the champions of the inaugural Air Force Commander’s Cup Inter-Club rugby sevens tournament, which will be held over two weekends next month.
The tournament, sponsored by Dialog Axiata will be held on March 20-21, and 26-27 at the Air Force rugby grounds in Ratmalana.
Sri Lanka Air Force is playing a leading role in organising this competition with the assistance of Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) heralding the return of the sport after the outbreak of COVID-19.
It will be conducted with the approval of the Ministry of Health and the blessings of the Ministry of Sports, following strict health protocols.
Five ‘A’ division clubs will be participating in this tournament with Army SC, Police SC, Navy SC, Air Force SC and Havelock SC fielding two teams each.
This will create an opportunity for the players who have been deprived of playing the tournament due to the withdrawal of Kandy SC, CH&FC and CR&FC, according to the organisers.
The organisers said, 20 players and five officials from each club will be allowed to commence practices with a negative PCR test, ensuring quarantine health guidelines are followed for 21 days with a further two PCR tests.
“Club players, officials, referees, medical, administrative, media and supporting staff will enter the Sri Lanka Rugby Tournament bubble after a negative PCR test report. SLR will do two PCR tests and retain all in quarantine until the tournament is over – seven days for the first leg and continued for another seven days for the second leg,” Air Vice Marshal Janaka Amarasinghe, Chairman of SLAF Rugby, said at a media conference on Wednesday.
The first leg will be held on a round robin basis and the second leg will be the knockout rounds.
The tournament will be played without spectators and telecast live through Sri Lanka Rupavahini Channel Eye.
Picture: SLAF Rugby Chairman AVM Janaka Amarasinghe speaking at a media conference yesterday (Picture by Nimalsiri Edirisinghe)