Jamail sparkles as Lanka Lions turn on style at Dubai Rugby Sevens


Lanka Lions are turning on the style with their dazzling brand of rugby to live up to their billing as title favourites in the Gulf Men's Open segment of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.

The Lankan side are on the cusp of glory after racking up over a century of points to top their pool.

Bolstered by the presence of two Fijians, the Lankan expatriates in UAE are keeping the Lion flag flying high.

They may not be the centre of attraction having to showcase their skills on the fringes of a tournament where 16 of the best men's team and 12 women's sides battle for glory in the HSBC World Sevens Rugby Series as the Road to Rio beckons.

However, the Lankan side are not short on motivation as they lived up to their pre-tournament promise of aiming for the Cup by advancing to the knockout stages with spectacular ease.

The manner in which they have performed thus far gives them every reason to be proud representatives of the island nation in this iconic tournament.

Cup runners-up in 2013 and losing semifinalists last year, Lanka Lions came up short in the past despite even bringing down renowned coaches.

Their formula for success this time was simple. They retained Dubai resident with Havelocks experience Richard Murcott as coach but opted to bring in Fijian flair.

Vito Tuivione and Ranato Tavite have without doubt made a difference to the fortunes of the Lankan side.

Tuivione has given them more muscle in the set pieces while Tavite has emerged as the playmaker of the team.

Not surprisingly, the Lanka Lions turned to Fijians to bring that extra dimension to the side with Saimoni Rokini aka 'Rocky' having represented the Vets side regularly in the Dubai Sevens.

They are certainly reaping dividends with Tavite using the searing pace of winger Amin Jamail in particular to maximum effect.

The former Sri Lanka Youth player has been a revelation in this tournament, emerging as their leading try scorer bamboozling opposition defences with his scorching pace and goose-stepping runs.

Most of his tries have been the result of long passes from Tavite who looks out for the flying winger whenever the opportunity to attack is available.

Jamail scored Lanka Lions' first try in their 38-0 win against Damascus Xenobians followed by a brace against Medina Eagles (31-10) on the opening day.

After a tight opening in their final pool match against Dubai Exiles II, Tavite opened the floodgates by breaking through following a line out while Jamail pounced on a bouncing ball to cross the line.

When Lanka Lions were down to six players after Dulanka Gunasekera was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, Tavite conjured a try from their own goal line with a brilliant counter attack by chip kicking and winning the chase to score under the posts.

Jamail not to be outdone scored twice in quick succession after the interval to put the finishing touches to lovely passes from Tavite and skipper Madisha Silva while Gayashan Wijayasinghe made it 38-0.

Lanka Lions were also on a roll in the Cup quarter-final against Dubai Wasps II with Jamail scoring four tries, including a hat-trick in the first half, the third a spectacular dash against the run of play.

Gunasekera added to their final tally of 33-0 by jinxing his way through with the Lions soaring in confidence.