By Indika Amarasinghe
Unsung hero, play maker and number eight Supun Warnakulasooriya scored two dazzling tries for Royal College to enable them to hold the formidable Thailand national under 20 Rugby team to a 12-all draw at the Thai national stadium yesterday to mark the 60th year anniversary of friendship between the two countries Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Royal College 1st XV rugby team, who emerged 2015 unbeaten inter schools under 20 League rugby champions in Sri Lanka; gave a fabulous display where they held the much bigger opponents and won most of the scrums and line outs.
In the set pieces and in the loose play the entire Royal forwards spearheaded by their dynamic number eight Warnakulasooriya were much faster than the Thailand forwards.
Their rucking and mauling were in the international class and credit must go to their tireless head coach Sanath Martis for moulding this Royal College team to one of international standards.
Under the leadership of centre three quarter Bhanuka Gamage, Royal had the luxury of retaining almost the entire squad for this important game which represented them this year in the inter school season; except their second row forward Chandula Jayasundara, who is presently away in the USA doing higher studies.
Hero of the day play maker Warnakulasuriya scored two breathtaking tries for Royal College through their famous rolling maul, where the hapless Thailand forwards were left stranded. Sixteen-year-old full back Ovin Askey managed to put over one conversion out of two.
Just before the final whistle Warnakulasuriya scored again for Royal College through their rolling maul, but for the utter dismay of all the Royalists present in the grounds as well as the entire Royal players and officials the Thailand referee disallowed the try.
Incidentally, after the match the entire Royal College rugby squad and the officials were hosted for dinner by the Thailand foreign minister. Today they will be invited to another dinner by the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Thailand.