Kandy Sports Club will be at full strength when they take on Havelocks Sports Club in a Dialog “A” Division League Rugby Tournament first round match to be played under light at Havelock Park on January 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Kandy started this year’s League by defeating CH and FC, Air Force , Police, Army convincingly, but CR and FC made them to sweat till the very last minute before Kandy went on to win the match 22-16.
According to reports this match should see the return of their fabulous third row forward Shehan “Lema” Pathirana who has recovered from illness. He missed all the matches played so far this season. The return of Pathirana would add more weight to Kandy’s pack and his intelligent play will be a bonus to them.
The player to watch is Kandy captain and brilliant fly half Fazil Marija who has been considered as one of the best ever seen in the rugby field in Sri Lanka. In Marija, Kandy has a match winner and could be considered as the ‘Player of the Season’ and he has achieved this even in the latter stage of his career.
Up front in the pack players like Piyumal Manchanayaka, and Kishore Jehan have been playing well. In the second and third rows it has been Gayan Rathnayaka, Soyuru Anthony, Heshan Kalhara, Buwaneka Udangamuwa and Pathirana. Scrum half Roshan Weerarathna who has been playing well could well have the edge over Srinath Sooriyabandara to combine with standoff cum captain Marija. The hard running Kandy SC three quarters will comprise centre Arshad Jamaldeen who in addition will take the spot kicks. Gayan Weerarathna, Lavanga Perera and Richad Darmapala are also players to watch out for. The last line of defence will be manned by Nigel Ratwatte.
Revealing his thoughts head coach of Kandy SC Sean Wijesinghe said “We have to improve a lot. In our last encounter CR and FC played a really good game. In this ongoing season out of all the opponents that we have faced up to now CR and FC were the pick of the lot. Havelock’s are equally good and a competitive team, there for I will not underestimate them. Any Sri Lankan club side wants to beat us. In rugby you have no room to relax and take it lightly, because who ever hit their best in that particular day can come up victorious. Even a bottom ranked team like Air Force or CH and FC” concluded Wijesinghe
Speaking exclusively to Nation head coach Tevita Tulagaese (Laga) said, “Both teams are equally good and the only worries we are facing at the moment is we have some of our best players down with injuries, hence they will not take part in this game. But we are confident and going all out for a victory “said Havelock’s coach Tevita Tulagaese (Laga).
Going by the team cards Kandy is having a huge advantage over the inexperience young Havies side, but they are going into this game as the underdogs, hence on their day Havelock’s will play a different brand of rugby under their tactical Samoan coach Tevita Tulagaese “ Laga” with the aim of creating a shock victory.
Kandy SC (Probable XV)
Piyumal Manchanayaka, Damith Disanayaka, Kishore Jehan, Gayan Rathnayaka, Soyuru Anthony , Heshan Kalhara, , Shehan “ Lema “ Pathirana, Buwanka Udangamuwa, Roshan Weerarathna and Fazil Marija(Captain), Lavanga Perera, Gayan Weerarathna, Arshad Jamaldeen, Richard Darmapala, Nigel Ratwatte
Havelocks (Probable XV)
Ganuka dissanayaka, Prasad Madusanka, Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Janik Jayasuriya, Jason Melder, Shenal Deelaka, Rohitha Rajapaksha, Sudarshana Muthuthanththri, Rahul De Silva and Rimzie Jamaldeen, Randitha Warnapura, Hirantha Perera, Nishon Perera, Sadun Herath (Captain), Kevin “ Kutty “ Dixon
In another match today fourth seed CR and FC will host the high riding third rank Sri Lanka Navy at CR grounds in Longden Place. Match is due to start at 4.00 pm.