Sri Lanka well known as a dominant force in international cricket. They were 1996 cricket world cup winners ….. but does anyone know Sri Lanka play rugby??……
Oh and to top this all off…this photo was taken by this physiotherapist at a rugby stadium that is in the hill tea country area of Sri Lanka. Not even in one of Sri Lanka’s major cities…. yes!! Sri Lanka is a Rugby Nation!! Domestically at least……
|Scrum during rugby game in Sri Lanka.|
Sri Lanka Rugby Nation (Domestically) – Physiotherapists Opinion
On my arrival to Sri Lanka within my first week i would become aware of this Rugby nation. In the distant i hear a familiar kiwi accent, as they walk into the clinic. Yes a foreign player playing in Sri Lanka. The Carlton 7′s Rugby Tournament was about to begin. This is the worlds first of its kind, franchise based rugby tournament similar to India’s Cricket IPL format. Teams in Sri Lanka would bid for key international players. Over 40 international players came to the tournament, including most of NZ’s 7′s players, and also players from Australia, England and Fiji players. Then almost straight after this the Sri Lankan rugby 15′s league would begin and most teams also having foreign players. Some big international rugby players such as D.J. Forbes (NZ 7′s Captain) played in Sri Lanka during this time. So like all of you, i was also shocked Sri Lanka doesn’t just lay on beautiful beaches, dance with Buddha, drink tea and play cricket.
Inadequate management of previous sports injuries, incorrect diagnosis’s, poor strength conditioning approaches, people with limited knowledge or often even no qualifications acting as sports physiotherapists with the top teams. These all co-founding a very large sports injury rate within rugby in Sri Lanka. A major hurdle if they want to improve their IRB international rugby rankings. I remember struggling out of bed one morning to head up to hill country in middle of the island nation. Why? because one of the rugby teams accommodation is up there, to check out some of the national team players (who played for that club). Besides this physiotherapist waking up 5am, which i complain about all the time (TAKE NOTE employers; I AM NOT a morning person!) and sweating enormously like most of my days in the humidity of Sri Lanka. This day would turn into a shock of a day…..boys literally lining up in the room, lining up to talk to me…previous ACL’s from years ago that never had proper “rehabilitation”. Or the opposite where athletes were just told that they can’t play for the rest of season, because they had ACL injuries. When they clearly did not have such a injury. Then finally getting back my apartment that day, near midnight but at least getting some of the rugby boys onto “proper” rehabilitation and physiotherapy programs.
Sri Lanka Cricket Nation (International)- Physiotherapists Opinion
Ok well we can say Internationally, Sri Lanka most popular and successful game is Cricket. The national cricket stadium can fit 35,000, and it does fill when the Sri Lanka National Team plays games there. Cricket is more popular then it is back in Australia. In terms of rugby; the earlier photo is just one game where the crowds came. This physiotherapist has seen the opposite of small crowds at some other games. But good crowds are regular in school and domestic rugby well beyond the crowds seen in domestic cricket in Sri Lanka. But in terms of international success we would say it is clearly a cricket nation. The team has dominated with international success such as winning the World Cup in 1996, and being runner-ups in the last World Cup. They are also hosting their first SLPL (Sri Lanka Premier League). A tournament similar to the successful Cricket IPL in India. They are also part of the cricket dominated subcontinent. Oh and to my Europeans and Americans friends, i am not explaining what cricket is. “Come on” it is not really that difficult despite your persistent argument it is!
|Premadasa Stadium /Sri Lanka National Cricket Stadium.|
Well to complete my initial question; Sri Lanka is not a cricket or a rugby nation as this sports physiotherapist would think. According to the government officially “It’s a Volleyball Nation”. Yes volleyball is the national sport…….
…….hmmm wonder why the ‘male’ Sri Lankan government decided that?!!
-Shane Hayes, Sports Physiotherapist with Team Sri Lanka & Foreigner in Sri Lanka, and World Traveler.