Dialog Inter-club League Rugby Tournament opener
By Indika Amarasinghe
Havelocks Sports Club and Police Sports Club will feature in the curtain raiser of the 2015/16 Dialog Inter-club Division 1 League Rugby Tournament which is scheduled at Havelock Park today (6.30 pm) under lights.
Havelocks SC will miss the services of the experienced Dulaj Perera due to a serious knee injury and his place will be taken by ex-Wesleyite and Police fly half Samantha Lakshan. Burly lock forward Jason Meldor is a doubtful starter for today’s game due to an injury and if he does not play ex-CR & FC six-footer Sithum Peiris will fill in the vacant lock forward’s berth.
The policemen have brought in former Havies full back Mohamad Sheriff to play in the pivotal position of fly half at the expense of this season’s appointed skipper Lahiru Gurusinghe. In the pack ex-Navy and Sri Lanka player Billal Hasan will play as number eight. Rasitha Silva and Udara Gayan have been moved up to the front row to bind down with Sri Lanka prop forward Terence Henry.
The forte of both teams has been their power-packed forwards. The police ‘eight’ especially Sharo, Henry, Bilal, Archirige, Harischandra and Rasitha Silva are expected to give a terrific display in the loose today and secure the ball. If they deliver then the ‘çops’ have a chance of pulling off this game. However, they face a huge challenge from the Park Club forwards spearheaded by burly Ganuka Dissanayaka who will be ably supported by Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Madushan, Melder, Rohitha Rajapaksha and Muthuthanththri.
In the set scrums the experienced Havelock’s hooker Liston Karunarathna should get the better of his vis-a-vis Rasitha Silva while the line outs should be shared between the Police duo of Archirige and Charles and Havelocks’ Umesh Madushan and Shenal Deelaka.
Havelock’s new halves combination comprising Rahul De Silva and Dinesh Lakshan are playing together for the first time this season. All will depend on how they will click as a pair in this crucial match. Police will hope that Ex-Isipathana scrum half Sudam Sooriarachchi will pair off well with his new fly half ex-Havies and Peterite player Mohamad Sheriff. In all probability, young Sudam will set his speedy three quarters in motion at every turn given that they have two hard running wingers in Chamara Dabare and Chula Susantha. This is in addition to the experienced centre Lasintha De Costa who has stood out with his powerful runs down the flank. Full back Reza Mubarak is there to join the line and form the overlap.
Speaking to The Nation Chandralal ‘Nilame’ Samarakoon an ex Cambrian and present Police development coach said, “I don’t see why we should not win this match as we have a formidable side after a long layoff. I think this is the best ever team we have got after the 80’s and early 90’s. Any way it will be a close game and whoever can absorb pressure at the end will win this game,” said Samarakoon.
It is left to be seen how the Havelocks three quarters will fare today in the absence of Sri Lanka fly half Dulaj Perera.
They will hope that their new halves combination of Rahul De Silva and Dinesh Lakshan will hit it off today. The half combination of these two players will have to give a very good performance if the Park Club is to emerge victorious.
Speaking to The Nation Sadun Herath the captain of Havelock’s said, “We have been hard at practices for the past two months under our Samoan coach Laga. This is our very first match and we have a very young side, I’m not worried about the score line. All what I wanted is to win this game today” said Herath.
Police: Terence Henry, Rasitha Silva, Udara Gayan, Romesh Achirige (Captain), Charles Praveen, Sharo Fernando, Chanaka Harishchandra, Bilal Hassan, Sudam sooriarachchi and Mohamad Sheriff, Chamara Dabare, Lasintha De costha, Musheen Falleel, Chula Susantha, Reeza Mubarak.
Havelocks: Ganuka Dissanayaka, Liston Karunarathna, Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Umesh Madushan, Jason Melder, Shenal Deelaka, Rohitha Rajapaksha, Sudarshana Muthuthanththri, Rahul De Silva and Samantha Lakshan, Nishon Perera, Hirantha Perera, Danushka Ranjan, Sadun Herath (Captain), Rehan Thyagaraja.
Caption-Sandun Herath (Havelocks SC/left) and Chamara Dabare (police SC)