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Fri Apr 18 17:41:58 SAST 2014

Try machine Gollings spearheads Sri Lanka’s drive

Reuters | 29 August, 2012 10:430 Comments
Ben Gollings of England watches on against China during day one of the IRB Sevens at Hong Kong Stadium on March 25, 2011 in So Kon Po, Hong Kong
Image by: Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Rugby Sevens’ record points-scorer Ben Gollings has been signed up to coach Sri Lanka for the next two months as the south Asian country bids to reach next year’s world cup.

The former England skipper, who amassed 2652 points from 70 tournaments, is tasked with leading the Sri Lankans through four competitions, culminating in a world cup qualifier in Singapore where 16 teams will vie for three Asian positions at the 2013 showpiece in Moscow.

“I’m here for two months; I’m here till the beginning of November, and this stage I will be handling 7’s rugby. We’ve had discussions about other things but we have decided the two months are best for now,” Gollings told Sri Lanka’s ThePapare.com.

Sevens rugby is receiving much more attention given that it will feature at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and its Olympic inclusion is encouraging national sports bodies and federations to pump more investment into performance.

First up for Gollings is this weekend’s Borneo Sevens in Kota Kinabalu, followed by the Shanghai Sevens, the Mumbai Sevens and then the Singapore World Cup qualifier.

“It’s going to be interesting, I know little bits about the opposition but I don’t know a lot but obviously, underdogs against the likes of Hong Kong and Japan,” the 32-year-old said in Colombo.

“We want to add extra to everything they (players) have already got, so it’s not just improving one thing, but improving each player as a collective. Improving the players, improve the team and so far that’s been happening.

“I think the confidence levels are good, the boys are listening — which is good — and learning fast. In only three training sessions that we have had together there has been a vast amount of improvement.

“I think there is a lot of potential; the boys have got some great skills, I think it’s just a matter of trying to help them with those skills and understand what they are trying to do on the field and give them some form of a game plan and work a bit on their fitness. But it’s going great so far.”

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Try machine Gollings spearheads Sri Lanka’s drive

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