Havelock Sports Club has received a major boost ahead of the Inter-Club Sevens Rugby Tournament this weekend as fly-half Dulaj Perera returns from a knee injury to be included in their squad.
Havelocks suffered a devastating blow when Perera was stretched off during a crucial match against Kandy last season and since then the former Peterite didn’t take part in any competitive rugby tournament – also missing out on the Asia Rugby Championship which was concluded a few weeks ago.
However, arguably the best place kicker in country Perera, is certain to start for Havelock SC which will be led by the veteran Niroshan Fernando.
With defending champions Kandy opted out of the tournament, Havelock will certainly fancy their chances in landing the sevens title given the strong squad they have including players such as Kevin Dixon, Nishon Perera, Hiranth Perera, Chamara Dabare, Sharo Fernando and Senal Deelaka.
CR and FC are expected to be their closest rival for the title as the Red Shirts have strengthened their young squad with another speedster in the form of Reeza Raffaideen.
Led by little scrum half Kavindu de Costa the Longden Place Club have got some serious sevens players who have represented the national side in the recent past.
Wing three quarter Kavindu Perera has been a regular member in the Sri Lanka side in the shorter format while Sashan Mohamed and Anuradha Herath have also represented the country in recent times.
A lot will also depend on the big number eight Omalka Gunarathne who was dropped from the Sri Lanka sevens squad recently. The former Isipathana captain will look to prove the selectors wrong this weekend.
They however have been drawn to the group of death which features Havelock SC, Police B and Air Force B.
Navy Sports Club captained by Thilina Weerasinghe will also be one of the contenders for the title.
Air Force ‘A’ which was the surprise package in the league tournament also added new players to their squad including Radeesha Seneviratne. The Airmen will be led by Charith Seneviratne while Ranidu Padmasanka, Amila Bandara and Nuwan Perera are among their first seven. There will also be an Air Force ‘B’ team which will be led by Udaya Kumara.
Army Sports Club will rely heavily on two Ariyapala brothers Dinushan and Imanka while they have named Mohamed Rizwi as their captain.
Group A: Navy ‘A’, Peterson, CH and FC ‘B’
Group B: Air Force ‘A’, Police ‘A’, CR and FC ‘B’
Group C: CH and FC ‘A’, Army, Navy ‘B’
Group D: Havelocks, CR and FC ‘A’, Air Force ‘B’, Police ‘B’