Junior Asian Rugby Championship Henakankanamage to lead Junior Tuskers

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By 2017-11-15

By Asanka Gammanpila

Sri Lanka sevens player and S. Thomas' captain Naveen Henakankanamage has been appointed captain of the Sri Lanka Under-19 XV-a-side rugby team ahead of the Junior Asian Rugby Championship to be held next month.

Earlier, defending champions Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka were to fight it out to secure a berth in the World Rugby Junior Trophy (second-tier world championship) to be held next year, but with the withdrawal of Chinese Taipei only Hong Kong and Sri Lanka remain.

Both legs were scheduled to be played in Hong Kong earlier, but later it was decided to be played on a home and away basis after a request made by Sri Lanka Rugby.

Naveen Henakankanamage is the most experienced player in the pool having represented the Sri Lanka national sevens team at the Asian Sevens Series held recently.

Naveen, son of former Isipathana legend H.K Sisira, also led the junior under-18 national sevens team to win the Asian Sevens Championship last year, which was held in Taipei.

The highest try scorer of the inter schools rugby league 2016, Henakankanamage also led the national under-20 sevens team this year at the Asian U-20 sevens tournament, where Sri Lanka finished as cup runner-up after going down to Hong Kong in the final.

On Monday, the Rugby National Selection Committee headed by Michael Jayasekera short listed a 37 member pool from 60 players and plan to prune it down to 30 next week ahead of the competition.

Even though there is less than a month to the competition, Sri Lanka Rugby has yet to finalize a head coach for the team. The first leg of the match will be played in Sri Lanka on 10 December and the second leg in Hong Kong on 17 December..

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