The national seventh teams participating in Asian Rugby Seventh Series in Sri Lanka visited the Japanese school in Colombo. The women’s national team members held the clinic for the local female players on October 11.
Yuri Ito who was dispatched to Kandy, Sri Lanka as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (hereinafter referred to as "JOCV") returned to Japan when the term ended on October 5. However, with the support of the Japan Rugby Football Union, he was sent to Sri Lanka again to manage the event and support the national team during the event.
The children at the Japanese school had never touched rugby balls before so they were curious as they were learning about rugby from Yuri Ito before meeting with the players.
The children welcomed the players with the Sri Lankan traditional dance called Kandyan dance as well as one of the trendiest dances in Japan followed by greetings from the captains, Chiharu Nakamura and Kameli Raravou Soejima.
At first, the children were overwhelmed by the size of the rugby players. However, once the children were used to the players, they were very excited about passing the balls and having lineout experiences. Comments like “Rugby players are cool. “ and “I want to play more rugby.” were something that could be heard throughout the event. Many kids rushed to cheer for the final game on the 14th, which might have become the driving force for winning the tournament for both men and women.
At the Colombo Racecourse Stadium, which was the venue of the tournament, a rugby clinic was held for Sri Lankan female players by the women’s national team player for second consecutive years.
Twenty players participated in the clinic. They had passing games, two-on-one and tackling practice. With regard to tackling practice, Sri Lankan players were able to receive individual advice from the national players, such as binding with both hands and foot position. In the beginning, the players were afraid of tackling, but by the end they were able to tackle the national players. From the Sri Lankan players, there were questions such as "How can I have a body that doesn’t get tired too easily?" or "How can I have a strong body?” the Japanese national players responded saying, "Eat a lot, sleep well and practice!" the Sri Lankan players also enjoyed watching the national team practice after the clinic.
Comment from Yuri Ito:
I would like to thank Japan Rugby Football Union as well as the national players for supporting this event. I am grateful that I was able to work again in Sri Lanka. For this event, there was more support this year than last year from JOCV volunteers. It was great to see not only Sri Lankans had a chance to get to know rugby, but also the Japanese people who live in Sri Lanka including the children from the Japanese school. As a culmination of 2 years of activities, good memories were made. I hope that such activities will continue in the future and Sri Lanka Rugby will further develop.