Both Asian representatives failed to make the semi-finals after an enthralling day of action at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Despite losing all three of their pool matches, both sides had several moments to celebrate at Robina Stadium on the Gold Coast.
In the Tusker’s opening match they scored first against the Olympic champions Fiji thanks to a fine run from Danushka Ranjan. Ranjan also scored first in both of the Tuskers other two pool matches as he impressed in their three defeats.
“I’ve been very impressed with the Sri Lankans, their restarts have been good,” said former All Blacks Sevens star Karl Te Nana.
“Their attack has been good, some nice breaks, but they just haven’t really had the polish to finish some of them off. They’re not scared to have a go and I like it.”
“The Sri Lankans are trying to grow their rugby in the country, they have one or two really strong players here and he (Ranjan) is one of them,” added former England Sevens captain Rob Vickerman.
Despite some strong defence, Malaysia’s more seasoned opponents proved too strong in each of their matches but they will have taken a lot of encouragement and experience to build on.
But Firdaus Tarmizi scored their one and only try of the day in their final match against Uganda and celebrated in style.
“It’s a great time for Asia at the moment, Sevens specifically,” added Vickerman.
“Japan and China are now on the Series, you’ve got Rugby World Cup in Japan next year and then of course the Olympics. It really is the time for growth for Asia and it is a good way of learning the game for these guys.”
The Commonwealth Games now sees four teams (Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England) battle it out for gold with both Asian teams now focusing their attention to the Asia Rugby Sevens Series and Asian Games later this year.
Uganda 33-10 Sri Lanka
Ranjan once again gave Sri Lanka a lead in the their third and final pool match. Uganda scored two quick tries in response before captain Sudharshana Muthuthanthri broke through and Ranjan finished for his fourth try of the day, this time showing quick feet and power to dot down.
Sri Lanka had the opportunity to take the lead, working the ball from inside their own 22 to within the Ugandan 22 but lost the ball and Uganda went the entire length of the pitch to score before they scored a fourth and fifth try to seal the win.
Papua New Guinea 31-5 Malaysia
Yet more spirited defence from Malaysia started their third and final pool match against PNG but despite having most of the possession in the early exchanges it was Uganda who scored first after Malaysia were penalised for tackling the man without the ball.
Uganda extender their lead before half-time and ran away with the match in the final seven minutes. But there was still time for Tarmizi to score in the corner following a kick behind the defence.
Wales 42-12 Sri Lanka
Again Sri Lanka took the lead with the first try through Ranjan, this time the speedster showing great pace to ghost past Luke Morgan. Ben Roach hit back for Wales, before Adam Thomas, Morgan Williams and Owen Jenkins added further tries under the posts.
Srinath Sooriyabandara brought the scores to 28-12 and with ball in hand Sri Lanka looked dangerous. But Wales’ experience shone through and they added a further two converted tries to take the game away from the Tuskers.
Scotland 41-0 Malaysia
Malaysia conceded five tries in the first half but came out fighting in the second half and despite not scoring, held the ball well and kept possession for the first three minutes before George Horne scored a breakaway try.
Malaysia’s defence stood up well in the second half and forced some errors from Scotland, including a great try-saving tackle from captain Zulkiflee bin Azmi. Scotland did score a second in the half to conclude the match.
Fiji 63-5 Sri Lanka
Following a knock-on from Jerry Tuwai, Sri Lanka’s Ranjan showed great pace to score in the corner and send the crowd wild. But Fiji proved too strong over the course of the 14 minutes with Sevuloni Mocenacagi scoring a hat-trick of tries to take the game away from the Tuskers.
Ranjan nearly scored a second late in the first half as Sri Lanka looked strong with time up but after a great passage of play, Semi Kunatani scored Fiji’s fourth.
South Africa 43-0 Malaysia
Malaysia kept possession for the first two minutes but Dylan Sage ended a fine move from the defending Commonwealth Games champions following a turnover and two fine breaks from Tim Agaba and captain Philip Snyman.
Justin Geduld added the Blitzboks’ second before Branco du Preez, Snyman, Rosko Specman, Geduld and Agaba cemented the win.