The work rate of Havelocks SC forwards like prop Dushmantha Priyadharshana underscore the efforts taken by the club to work on player fitness (File photo)

By Ravi Nagahawatte

Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club (CR&FC) will encounter a challenge as mighty as climbing ‘The Himalaya’ when they host Havelocks Sports Club (Havies) in their Division 1 Inter-club Dialog League Rugby Tournament fixture at Longden Place on November 28 (Saturday).

Club rugby last week seemed complicated to the spectator because the coach’s input to the outcome of the game was immense. Key substitutions in the CR-Army game saw the Red Shirts produce a flurry of tries and take the game away from the soldiers. This also underscored the advantage a homegrown coach has regarding his chargers when the opposition is coached by an expatriate. But today CR’s coach Inthi Marikar will face an acid test because Havelocks SC is coached by an expatriate Tulagaese Tawita who not only knows the Sri Lankan rugby set-up inside out, but can also manage a conversation in Sinhalese, given that he has been in and out of the island for many years.

Coaches aside, CR&FC have the will and the skill to be counted as one of the top teams in the running this season. But this is only if they rectify their ‘game’ which was strewn with errors in their last outing. Their pack is loaded and the threes are game for anything when taking on opposition players, even if they happen to be twice their size. But rugby critics pointed out that CR&FC, just like the Army SC players, were guilty of going for unnecessary hits, most likely with the intention of massaging their egos. This really spoilt last week game which only produced the sparks in the final 20 minutes.

Havelocks SC have the men and the legs to carry any onslaught for a full 80 minutes. Prop forward Dushmantha Priyadharshana’s unusual work rate on the field highlighted not only this player’s zest for the game, but also the contributions of the team’s fitness trainer Ransilu Jayatilake. Havies are once again hoping to have memorable season and finish on a high, given that this is the club’s centenary year.

Havies are known for their exciting brand of open rugby and it will serve them well if they feed their hungry three quarters comprising Sandun Herath, Dhanushka Ranjan, Hirantha Perera, Samantha Lakshan and ex-Peterite Nishon Perera.

There was so much talk about the standard of refereeing in the first week of matches. But if the players make the least mistakes and play disciplined rugby, there is little a less than perfect referee can do to spoil a game.

CR&FC- Shane Sambandapperuma, Lahiru Pavithra, Malith Hettiarachchi, Ishan Moor (captain), Dilanka Perera, Sasanka Ariyarathna, Jason Disanayaka, Arun Kumar, Dilanka De Zoysa or Kavindu De Costha, Ashan De Costha or Tharinda Ratwatte, Mekalanka Praboda, Kanchana Ramanayaka, Bhanuka Nanayakkara, Kavindu Perera or Sashan Mohamad, Prince Chamara

HAVELOCKS sc- Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Liston Karunarathna, Ganuka Disanayaka, Umesh Madushan, Sithum Peiris, Shenal Deelaka, Rohitha Rajapaksha, Sudarshana Muthutantri, Rahul De Silva and Samantha Lakshan, Nishon Perera, Danushka Ranjan, Hirantha Perera, Sadun Herath (Captain), Kevin Dixon

Police host CH on Saturday

Also this week, CH&FC are hosted by Police SC on Saturday while Kandy SC host Air Force SC at Nittawela, on Sunday.