Sri Lanka national rugby union team

The Sri Lanka national rugby union team has 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.[2] 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.

Sri Lanka
UnionSri Lanka Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s)The Brave Elephants
Coach(es)Matt Lee
Captain(s)Sudharshana Muthuthanthri
Most capsSudharshana Muthuthanthri
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 All Ceylon 6–33 New Zealand 
(12 September 1907)
Largest win
 Sri Lanka 75–3 Pakistan 
(27 October 2004)
Largest defeat
 Japan 129–6 Sri Lanka 
(8 October 2002)
World Cup


national team in 2014

Early yearsEdit

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 on 28 June 1879.[3]

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.[4] The professional All Blacks won the match 33-6.[5] The Ceylon Rugby Football Union was founded 10 August 1908. In 1974 it changed its name to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.[3]

20th centuryEdit

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.[6]

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

World Cup qualifying
1995 World Cup

In 1994, Sri Lanka entered into their first World Cup qualification tournament for a spot at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. They were drawn in Group A with Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia. After only losing by five points to Malaysia, they would concede 92 more points against the other two teams in the group to finish bottom of the group with no points.

1999 World Cup

In 1997, Sri Lanka participated in the opening round of 1999 Rugby World Cup qualifying. After defeating Thailand and Singapore in the opening round, they next took on Chinese Taipei and Malaysia with the winner going through to the third round. After knocking off Malaysia by 22 points in Kuala Lumpur in their opening match, they would be eliminated after losing to Chinese Taipei 31-27 which gave Chinese Taipei the spot into the third round.

New millenniumEdit

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 their world ranking improve from 68th to 43rd place, and its Asian ranking improve to fifth place.[7]

World Cup qualifying
2003 World Cup
2007 World Cup


Asian Five Nations and World Cup qualifying;

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.[8]

2011 - 2016

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 successful 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. Due to financial reasons, the challenge game was cancelled with South Korea remaining in the tri-nations division and Sri Lanka in the Division 1 competition for 2016.

In 2016 Sri Lanka finished second at the Division tournament held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May. Sri Lanka defeated both Singapore and the Philippines but lost to hosts Malaysia.[9]

Home groundsEdit


Current squadEdit



Council MembersEdit

Former coachesEdit

Assistant coaches

Upcoming fixtures and recent resultsEdit

Upcoming fixturesEdit

Recent resultsEdit

Date Tournament Location Venue Opponent Result Score
2019 Friendly Kuala Lumpur Bukit Jalil National Stadium   Malaysia Loss 26-31
1 June 2019 2019 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Taipei Municipal Stadium   Chinese Taipei Win 72-17
29 May 2019 2019 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Taipei Municipal Stadium   Philippines Loss 22-39
14 May 2016 2016 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Kuala Lumpur Royal Selangor Stadium   Philippines Win 25-21
11 May 2016 2016 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Kuala Lumpur Royal Selangor Stadium   Malaysia Loss 17-42
8 May 2016 2016 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Kuala Lumpur Royal Selangor Stadium   Singapore Win 33-17
9 May 2015 2015 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Bocaue, Bulacan Philippine Sports Stadium   Philippines Win 27–14
6 May 2015 2015 Asian Rugby Championship division 1 Bocaue, Bulacan Philippine Sports Stadium   Kazakhstan Win 35-14
Green background indicates a win. Red background indicates a loss. Yellow background indicates a draw.


  1. ^ "Sri Lanka Sports News". 2011-04-24. Archived from the original on 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b A 100 years of Unbroken Tradition! Archived 2009-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ [2] Archived June 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Match Report
  6. ^ Thomas, Clem; Thomas, Greg (2005). The History of The British and Irish Lions. Mainstream Books. pp. 89–99. ISBN 1-84596-030-0.
  7. ^ Sri Lanka to host Rugby Asiad in November this year Archived March 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Sri Lanka is Asia's newest Top 5 team after winning HSBC Final". Heavens Game. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  9. ^ Ishak, Fadhli (11 May 2016). "(Rugby) Malaysia upset Sri Lanka in Asian Rugby Championships". New Straits Times. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union". Archived from the original on 2011-12-04. Retrieved 2011-12-02.

External linksEdit