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Sri Lanka favourites for A5N promotion will meet Singapore today

Sri Lanka favourites for A5N promotion will meet Singapore today

There is little doubt that Asian rugby is on the up and becoming increasingly competitive – and that is reflected in the international set-up in that part of the world. The Asian Five Nations – the annual tournament contested by the international sides in the region – doubles as the qualifying competition for the Rugby World Cup and is split into six divisions: the elite Top 5, followed by Divisions I, II, III, IV and V.

Each year there is relegation and promotion between the divisions. That means that, with the winners of the 2014 Top 5 qualifying automatically for the following year’s Rugby World Cup, time is running out for the teams in some of the lower divisions to fight their way in to that elite and give themselves a shot at qualifying for England in 2015. 

Just as well for Sri Lanka, then, that they recently made the significant investment of bringing in former England hooker Phil Greening as coach on a two-year contract. As the side narrowly relegated from the Top 5 last year, and the Asian nation with the oldest rugby tradition (club rugby was being played in Sri Lanka in 1879), they are rightly favourites for the Division I title, and are leaving nothing to chance. But with a new coach and new ideas to implement, the other three sides will be hoping to take advantage of any bedding-in period. 

They have crossed the first hurdle after beating Chinese Taipei and will confront today with Singapore

 
As the division directly below the elite Top 5 (featuring the likes of traditional powerhouses Japan), they are the teams most desperate to earn promotion, which is why they are putting so much into the next week of rugby. They will certainly need to do so – last year’s Division I competition was simply two semi-finals and a final, meaning just two wins saw South Korea promoted. This year the tournament is being played as a round-robin, meaning each side will play three games in just seven days, all at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. 

Posted on 2012-04-17 19:56:55
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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