Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) have once more come under fire following blatant double standards in team selection criteria for Sri Lanka men’s and women’s teams for the upcoming Asia Rugby 7’s Series.
National rugby selectors have already picked the women’s pool for the above-mentioned tournament which consists of 40 players. This pool has been picked based on the performances of the previous years and also their fitness levels.
However, last week SLR announced that Sri Lanka men’s team will only be selected after the Invitational Rugby Sevens Tournament which has been organized by Police SC. The previous performances and fitness level have evidently not been considered for the selection of men’s team which interestingly were the major criteria in the selection of women’s pool.
These double standards are likely to cost arguably some of the best players from Kandy Sports Club who have been betrayed left, right and centre.
The likes of Srinath Sooriyabandara, Jason Dissanayake, Danush Dayan, Kavindu Perera, Roshan Weeraratne, Tarinda Ratwatte, Richard Dharmpala and Buddhima Piyaratne have been left helpless after Kandy Sports Club decided not take part in the Invitational Rugby Sevens. Earlier, the players had been told that they would be given a chance to join the national pool based on their previous performances and fitness level, but this decision was changed inside 24 hours after several clubs are said to have objected to the proposal giving Kandy players a fair chance in order to pick the best team.
Sri Lanka rugby fanatics have been left scratching their heads following these double standards and many find SLR responsible for this.
“I totally understand Kandy players. I know what they are capable of, but there are criterias which are beyond our control when it comes to selection. There are rugby tournaments being organized without us knowing and there is certainly a shift in dimensions in which we are also caught unaware. In terms of organizing rugby, it has changed since this pandemic, and we have always come up with plans but sadly the high-performance committee and Sanjeewa Wickramanayake in particular have failed to communicate which is very disappointing. We still have some time and we are trying to pick the best squad possible,” SLR President Rizly Illyas told Daily Mirror.