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Under 20 Asian Rugby Championships in Thailand 
SLRFU predicts toughest ever rugby challenge for Sri Lanka

August 19, 2010, 9:11 pm 



By Ravi Nagahawatte

Sri Lanka will face its toughest ever challenge at the Asian Under 20 Rugby Championships, the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) told the media at a press conference held in connection with the upcoming tournament at the rugby union office in Colombo yesterday.

Lasitha Guneratne, Vice President SLRFU, said that Sri Lanka will first play South Korea and if victorious faces the winners of the Japan vs Singapore match. Japan is contesting the Asian Championships this year because it didn’t have automatic selection for the World Cup on the grounds it lost some World Cup Qualifying matches recently. This year’s Asian Rugby Championships will be hosted by Thailand August 22-28.

Japan’s presence at this year’s Asian Tournament seeds it as the tournament’s top ranked team and all other teams will be relegated one place each in a bid to accommodate the rugby giant. Sri Lanka finished third at last year’s Asian Championships, but at present, is ranked as the fourth best team in the tournament.

Guneratne said that Sri Lanka had to win both games if it wished to see itself finishing amongst the top four or five teams in Asia.

Sri Lanka under 20 captain Shenal Dias said that he hoped his side would emulate last year’s feat where the ‘Lions’ beat South Korea, in possibly what many felt was the shock of the tournament . "A key factor is the team gelling together and if this is possible we will do well," the Sri Lanka captain said.

Nasser Abdul Majeed who spoke on behalf of the team’s sponsor Singer Sri Lanka said that his company got involved in rugby because it felt school rugby was very exhilarating. "Singer expects Sri Lanka to perform well at the tournament," Majeed said.

Sri Lanka will make the line-up of teams along with Japan, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.


Sri Lanka Under 20 squad- Shenal Dias (Captain), Kanchana Ramanayake, Keith Gurusinghe, Steve Nelson, Banuka Nanayakkara, Tarindu Rajaguru, Rajitha Sansoni, Prasad Devinda, Anjula de Silva, Shehan Pathirana, Abdul Murad, Prabath Jayalath, Asitha Ratnayake, Mushin Faleel, Kasun Jayasuriya, Chethiya Wadugodapitiya, Azmil Omar, Chamara Dabare, Tharindu Chanaka, Mayura Sanjeewa, Anurudhdha Willawara, Mohammed Nizmy, Soyuru Anthony, Sudharshan Muthuthanri.

Sanath Martis (Coach), Nihal Guneratne (Assistant coach), SW. Chang (Manager), W.M Dharmaratne (Physio)


Nasser Majeed Marketing Director Singer Sri Lanka Ltd hands over the documents as the sponsor for the Sri Lanka Under 20 team for the upcoming Asian Championships to SLRFU President Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunatilake at a press conference held in connection with the tournament at the SLRFU headquarters in Colombo. (Nihal Chandrakumara)

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CR and FC skipper Danushka Perera receives the Cup Championship Trophy from the President of the SLRFU and Air Force Commander Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke after they beat Air Force by 21 points to 17 in the Cup Championship final of the Club Rugby Sevens at Longden Place. Also in the picture is SLRFU Vice President Lasitha Gunaratne




( I ) @ C R & F C

( II ) @ Royal Complex


Kandy retain Clifford Cup

by Rukshan Razak

Defending champions Kandy Sports Club proved in no uncertain terms their experience and vigour as they recorded a rousing 26 (4 tries, 2 penalties) 11 (1 try, 1 drop goal, 1 penalty) win over Navy Sports Club in the knockout final to clinch the Caltex Clifford Cup for the 16th occasion at a comfortably packed Bogambara Stadium yesterday.

At the breather Kandy led 16-6.

Kandy were crowned the double champions once more both in the league and the knockouts also blasting the myth of neutral, home and away grounds despite the absence of four of their regular players. In fact their performance yesterday was far more superior as against their previous encounters at fortress Nittawela.

Fazil Marija the jubilant Kandy captain speaking to ‘The Island’ after the game said, "As expected we had to play a pressure game and we were well prepared and all the boys played well as a team and contributed towards our success." He also took the opportunity to thank the rugby crazy fans of Kandy who were behind them right throughout to give them the moral boost.

He also was grateful to all the rugby officials and authorities of KSC for their wonderful support.

It was a stirring display by Kandy forwards both in the loose and set pieces that enabled them to gain advantage from their opponents who disappointed their fans with poor tackles and similarly their back division too could not curtail the pressure exerted by Kandy and thus portrayed an anti climatic display.

Kandy coach, the South African Johan Taylor told ‘The Island’ that his players made the right decision at the right time during play and their experience made the difference in the end.

"We have the best squad and picked the right men to carry out the task," he said speaking about the absence of four players.

The game initially was played with such intensity with the lead changing hands regularly. A drop goal by fly half Dev Anand, who missed two penalty kicks earlier, first due to the delay in taking the kick and later misjudging the direction made amends and opened the account for the sailors 3-0. But Kandy full back Saliya Kumara levelled the scores off a penalty which was followed by two successful penalty kicks by the duo for Navy and Kandy which saw the scores deadlocked again at 6-6.

Then came the most spectacular try of the game which also eventually turned the tide in favour of Kandy when winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe receiving a pass from hooker Anuranga Walpola, who had a terrific game all round, changed his course and pace to run a distance of 50 meters before touching down under the post to score an unconverted try. This enabled Kandy to lead 11-6.

Then came another bash on the sailors, and this time it was centre Gayan Weeraratne who had his field day receiving the ball from fly half Fazil Marija cut across the Navy defence covering a good twenty meters when tackled off loaded to centre Chamara Withanage to score another unconverted try for Kandy just before lemons and cross over with a 16-6 lead.

Upon resumption, it was Walpola who was in action again with the ball. The burly hooker galloped through the Navy defence finding the gaps with some fine side stepping and doing all the hard work offloaded to prop forward Kishor Jehan to touch down to score their uncharacteristic but third unconverted try. This enabled the lads from Kandy to take away the game from the sailors.

But without delay Navy stormed back to Kandy’s territory and made a desperate effort to penetrate their defence. Amid winning seven penalties in a row and responding with a short tap followed by forward rushing for the umpteenth occasion but they could not make any breakthroughs amid a stiff defence. Only later they changed their strategy to work the three quarters and this time it bore fruits as their winger, Nuwan Hettiarachchi who played with such zest for the sailors went over this time to score an unconverted try and the scores read 11-21.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the Chief Guest at the occasion presented the Clifford Cup to Kandy Sports Club skipper Fazil Marija while Kishu Gomes, the Chairman of Chevron Lubricants gave away the other awards. Also present was Minister of Sports C.B. Ratnayake. Earlier the two teams were introduced to the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapsksa.

Scott Herbert from the Arabian Gulf refereed.

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Navy shock CR, thro’ to final

Navy SC created a major shock when they stunned fancied CR & FC 17-12 in extra-time to set up a showdown with defending champs Kandy SC in the final next Saturday (July 31), in their absorbing Caltex Clifford Cup semi final fixture at Royal Sports Complex yesterday.
The sailors and the red shirts were deadlocked at 12-all at the end of full-time, which forced referee Allan Witcombe of Arabian Gulf to play 10-minutes of extra-time with the team to score first adjudged winners in a sudden death scenario.
Navy SC scrum half Suranga Pushpakumara in the sixth minute of extra-time who punted ahead gathered his own rebound almost within touching distance of the touchline to canter under the posts for the match-winning score.
CR players protested vehemently with the assistant referee Gamini Indrasena saying that the player had come into contact with the touchline, but according to rules what counts is for the player to stay out of the touchline, hence referee Witcombe after consultation with the assistant referee awarded the try to Navy SC to spark wild celebrations.
For the winners who collected their points from a try, three penalty goals and a drop goal, stand off Dev Anand fired the penalties and a trademark field goal to keep the red shirts at bay.
For CR & FC full back Reza Mubarak did all the scoring slotting four penalty goals but they overall failed to rise to the occasion when it mattered most.

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Kandy SC edge out Airmen 27-24

by S.M. Jiffry ABDEEN - Kandy Sports Corr.

Wild scenes were witnessed when fighting broke out in the field and spectators in the stands were assaulted as Kandy Sports Club scored a hard fought 27 points (3 goals, 2 penalties) to 24 (1 goal, 2 tries, 2 penalties) win over Sri Lanka Air Force to enter the final of the Caltex Clifford Cup knock out rugby tournament match played at the neutral venue of Bogambara Stadium, Kandy yesterday. At half time Kandy SC led 20-3. Fighting broke out in the 12th minute of second half when players from both teams were seen throwing punches and even using the boots.

Referee Henry Mason and match commissioner Tuan Dole intervened and restored order.

Play was held up for sometime and referee having made his observations ordered off the field Pradeep Kurukulasoriya of Sri Lanka Air Force and Sajith Saranga of Kandy Sports Club.

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Lankan Women Create History In Nittewela


Written by Sankha DLT   

Sunday, 11 July 2010 01:26

The Sri Lankan women’s rugby team created history

at the Nittewela groundswhen they recorded their first

ever win in the fifteen aside game beating the

southern Californian Griffin girl’s team by a slender

12 points to 10.

The bigger made visitors looked the more physical

side but were proved wrong by a hearty Sri Lankan

outfit who were much more fast around the park and

also very aggressive around the fringes. The coach

of the women’s team Hisham Abdeen talking to The

Papare before the commencement of the match

stated that, though the Lankans are smaller in stature

they have a lot of heart which makes up for the lack

of physical strength and is recognized around the

world as one of the most lethal set of tacklers in Asia.

The Griffins who came in to the game as the favourites

were met with an unpredictable foe in the form of the

weather god.Heavy rain marred any sort of free flowing

rugby and did not give the Griffin girls the clean ball to

work their capable three-quarters. The Griffins deputy

skipper Tara Burk who plays for the national side

playing in at outside center did not see much of the

ball with the forwards doing the bulk of the work up

front keeping it in close quarters. The Sri Lankans

used the soggy conditions at the Nittewela grounds

to good effect with a customary chip kick over the

first line of defense that left the Griffins back three

which was led by Full Back Jamie Garcia with a lot

of ground to cover.The Lankans played more of a

sevens style of rugby and moved the ball wide

using their speedy three-quarters to good effect.

Sri Lanka put the first points on the board after

capitalizing on a mistake by insidecenter Kristine

Dunnigan who dropped a pass which was directed

at her.The second center for the Lankans broke a

couple of defenders after collecting the loose ball

to score under the post to give the home team the

lead earlyon in the match. The conversion through

and the Lankans led 07 points to nil.The Griffins

hit back during the course of the first half through

a brilliant try by their number eight Carissa Hsieh

who broke off a scrum five meters out of the touch

line to score under the post unopposed. The visitors

had a good chance of equalizing but failed to add

the extra points. Sri Lanka still in the lead 07-05 with

both teams finding it hard to make any headway due

to the wet conditions underfoot. The visitors who were

guilty of not keeping possession missed at least three

easy scoring opportunities which came their way due

to poor handling. The Griffins however scored their

second try from one of their third tow forwards Nikki

Son in the initial stage of the second half.The Lions

(Sri Lanka) who had the put in to the scrum made a

mock of things and the Griffins capitalize with the

open side flanker picking the ball up from the five

meter scrum to touch down.Full Back Jamie Garcia

could not add the extra points and the Griffins took

the lead for the first time in the match 10 points

to 07. The third row in particular had a wonderful

game in defense as well as withball in hand led by

their power packed number eight Carissa Hsieh

 the Griffins third row made some useful inroads in

to the opponent’s territory. It was also interesting to

see a fellow Sri Lankan lead the Griffins team in the

form of prop forward Natasha Perera. Then came the

try of the match and also the defining moment of the

game. Sri Lanka scored through young wing

three-quarter Swarnamalee. The Lankans after a

hitting it up through their forwards saw the overlap

and went ahead with a perfectly waited chip kick

by the young winger who collected, evaded two

defenders and scored under the post. The try cam

just when the Griffin girls were finding some sort of

rhythm to their play but was lived short due to this

instance. The Sri Lankans skipper Ratnayake rallied

her troops around and gave in a gritty effort up front

holding the heavier forwards of the Griffins.

The Lankans who committed a lot of numbers to

the breakdowns turned the ball over on a number

of occasions and made the visitors work hard for the

ball. They went up in one line and shut any form of

attack before it passed the gain line.It was a memorable

evening for Hisham Abdeen’s troops as they held thei

r nerve in an absorbing game of rugby played at the

Nittewela grounds to hold on against a spirited Griffins

side which is coached by Ravi Perera.

The second fifteen aside match will be played on the

18th of July at the CR&FC grounds while the beach

sevens tournament will get under way

on the 15th of July at the Ahungalla beach. was one of the main sponsors

of the event and will be giving a complete round

of the Griffins tour in the days to come. 

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Sri Lanka is Asia’s newest Top 5 team after winning HSBC A5N DI Final

[Singapore, April 17 2010]:  Sri Lanka has climbed close to the top of Asian rugby’s totem pole after beating Singapore 23-16 in a thrilling final of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division I tournament played.  In the 3rd/4th place play-off, Malaysia achieved its primary objective by retaining its Division I status after winning the relegation match against a young Chinese Taipei XV, 35-3. 

After being pushed to the limit against Malaysia in Wednesday’s Semi Final, the hosts and top seeds Singapore could not withstand a second charge from Sri Lanka.  The visitors turned in a comprehensive performance in wet and humid conditions at Singapore’s Yio Chu Kang stadium to emerge as Division I champions for the first time in three years.  Sri Lanka will now be promoted to the elite Top 5 competition in Asian rugby starting in 2011.

Singapore never looked entirely comfortable this evening, particularly in the back three as a wet ball and clever kicking from Sri Lanka helped keep the hosts on the back foot and negated the superior size of Singapore’s forward pack.  Matters turned for the worse for Singapore in the 20th minute as inspirational captain Matt “Rhino” Ryan limped off with an injury further depleting the team of leadership after their first choice captain Jonathon Lee was sidelined in a trial match in Darwin two weeks ago.





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