If I ask you what is the most popular game in Sri Lanka, without any hesitation you will say it’s Cricket. Undoubtedly Cricket is the most popular sport among the Sri Lankan community, even more than our national sport Volley ball but Rugby has being growing its popularity from recent past and now even challenging the popularity of Cricket. School Rugby has played a vital role in the games’ development and historical rugby encounters like Bradby made the initial platform for games’ promotion. Now there is a tough contest between leading rugby playing schools.The competitiveness has raised the awareness of businessmen to facilitate the local rugby arena. With the introduction of the Rugby 7s’ format, Rugby has become more popular and commercialized in inter club level too.
Even though rugby has got the reputation in school and club levels, it has been hidden under the ashes for a long time in university level. But in the recent times more crowd has started to gather around rugby matches and enthusiasm for Rugby has being growing vastly among the university students. Best example is the ongoing Inter University Games.
12 teams competed under 4 groups in the preliminary stage of the Rugby in Inter University Games 2017 and at the end only 8 teams have qualified for the quarter finals which will be held at Niththawela Rugby Ground. All the matches of the preliminary round took place at the University of Peradeniya Rugby Ground except the match between the university of Kelaniya and Colombo, which was shifted to the Welisara Navy Ground.
One of the noticeable thing in this year’s contest was almost all the games were won by the victorious teams with a huge margin and at most of the matches (9 out of 12 matches to be exact) opponent team didn’t get a chance to score even a single goal. Universities such as Moratuwa, Peradeniya, Colombo and Sri Jayawardenapura claim the top spot in their respective groups without tasting a single defeat as all of them won both games they played.University of Rajarata, Sabaragamuwa, Kelaniya and Uva Wellassa became the runners up in each group by winning 1 match each.
Competitiveness will be high in the upcoming quarter finals as the best teams will be fighting with each other to claim a position in the semifinals. Quarter final stage will commence with the match between the university of Sri Jayawardenapura and the university of Sabaragamuwa on 29th of July at 3.00pm.
By Isuru Akalanka