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Sri Lanka national rugby union team

Template:Infobox rugby team

The Sri Lanka National Rugby Union Team represents Sri Lanka in international rugby union competitions. Sri Lanka have yet to make their debut at the Rugby World Cup. They have the longest tradition of organised club rugby in Asia, dating back to 1879, which was just 8 years after the founding of the world’s first rugby union in England.[1] They regularly compete in the Asian Five Nations tournament and are currently in Division I. In the 2010 tournament, they made it to the finals beating Chinese Taipei 37 to 7.


Introduction of rugby to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Rugby has a long history, dating back to the days of British colonialism. The first party to introduce Rugby to Sri Lanka is Kingswood College in Kandy, with the first club, Colombo Football Club, being established in 28 June 1879.[2]

International competition begins

The nation's first "national" match was on 12 September 1907 and involved an All Ceylon team against the professional All Blacks (the New Zealand rugby league team) under rugby union rules on their 1907–1908 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain.[3] The professional All Blacks won the match 33-6.[4] The Ceylon Rugby Football Union was founded 10 August 1908. In 1974 it changed its name to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.[2]

20th century

In 1932 the Ceylon RFU XV won the All India Cup at all India Rugby Football Tournament

Both the 1930 and the 1950 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia played unofficial matches in Ceylon on their way home.[5]

Mahesh Rodrigo, better known as an international cricketer, also captained the national team.

World Cup qualifying

1995 World Cup

1995 was the first time Sri Lanka entered into a World Cup qualifying tournament. Sri Lanka was in Group A along with Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia. They lost all three games scoring an aggregate of 30 against 155. Japan went on to qualify for the World cup.

1999 World Cup

Sri Lanka participated in the 1999 Rugby World Cup qualifying and was in Round 1 with Thailand and Singapore. In the opening round, Sri Lanka won both games to qualify through to the second round. The next round was tough for Sri Lanka and it didn't go well with a lost to Chinese Taipei ending the hopes for the World Cup after defeating Malaysia earlier.

New millennium

The furthest they have made was to Round 2 of the Asian qualifying competition for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. The Sri Lanka rugby team performed above expectations during the qualifying campaign for the world cup, and saw its world ranking improve from 68th place to 43rd place, and its Asian ranking improve to fifth place.[6]

World Cup qualifying

2003 World Cup
2007 World Cup


Asian Five Nations and World Cup qualifying

Main article: Asian Five Nations
2008 - 2010

2008 was the first year of Asian Five Nations, which replaced the ARFU Asian Rugby Championship and the ARFU Asian Rugby Series. At the Divisional tournament Sri Lanka finished third, drawing against Singapore and losing to Chinese Taipei. The Chinese team withdrew from the tournament due to lack of visa availability and were relegated to Division Two.

In 2009 Sri Lanka again finished third in the Divisional tournament defeating Thailand (51-17) in the 3rd-place final, remaining in Division One.

Sri Lanka won Division One of the 2010 Divisional tournament beating Singapore (23-16) in the final, thereby winning promotion to the 2011 Asian Five Nations for the first time.[7]

2011 - 2015

Despite a drawn match with United Arab Emirates (13-13), Sri Lanka lost its remaining three matches in the 2011 Asian Five Nations tournament and finished last, resulting in its demotion out of the Asian Five Nations.

In the 2012 Division tournament the team won two matches but were defeated by the Philippines, which meant Sri Lanka missed out on promotion and remained in Division One.

At the 2013 Division tournament held in Colombo, Sri Lanka were succesful in winning all three of its matches earning a promotion to the Asian Five Nations.

In 2014 Sri Lanka lost all four of its matches in the Asian Five Nations and were relegated back to Division One.

At the 2015 Division tournament held in the Philippines in May, Sri Lanka beat the Philippines 27-14 to become the champions of the Asian Division 1, resulting in the team qualifying to compete in a challenge match, in June, against the third ranked Asian team and a potential spot in the 2016 Asian Championship.

Home grounds

Main Home Ground


Current squad



Council Members

Former coaches

Assistant coaches

See also


  1. [1][dead link]
  2. 2.0 2.1 A 100 years of Unbroken Tradition!
  3. [2][dead link]
  4. Match Report
  5. Thomas, Clem; updated by Thomas, Greg (2005). The History of The British and Irish Lions. Mainstream Books. pp. pp89–99. ISBN 1-84596-030-0. 
  6. Sri Lanka to host Rugby Asiad in November this year
  7. Template:Cite web=
  8. "Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union". Retrieved 2011-12-02. 

External links