Red hot CR and FC will battle it out with the unknown Army SC rugby team in their second round opening match of the Dialog Inter-club League Rugby Tournament on January 16 (Saturday) at Army grounds at Diyagama. The kick-off is at 4pm.
CR&FC are a dejected lot after several of their key players, namely fly half Tharinda Ratwatte (illness), second row forward Dilanka Perera (illness), national centre Kanchana Ramanayaka, winger Anuradha Herath, flanker Jason Dissanayaka, hooker Supun Warnakulasuriya and full back Rochana Hettiarachchi (all down with injuries) are ruled out from today’s match against the ‘soldiers’.
The above players will be replaced by last year’s skipper and fly half Ashan De Costa, former St. Anthony’s second row forward Shemal Weerasekara, former Kandy SC centre Amila Bandara, former Isipathana winger Mekalanka Praboda and ex-Royal and Havies hooker Lahiru Pavithra for this game.
Also former Science College skipper Prince Chamara will play in the pivotal position of full back for CR&FC.
Going by the teamcards, CR&FC are having a huge advantage over the inexperienced and young Army SC side. Army SC are going in to this game as the underdogs. However, if they click as a team and play to their potential they are quite capable of toppling any side in the tournament. Rugby fans can’t forget the shock victory they produced against the formidable Navy side in the first round.
In the first round game, the Red Shirts won the home game coming from behind at Longden place.
Speaking to Nation manager of the CR team Dunstan De Silva said, “We were practicing really hard for the past couple of days. Unfortunately we have been hit by injuries to our key players, but we will go for a win today”.
When contacted Army SC’s Nisal Meepage said, “Since all the players are serving in Army regiments their physical and strength conditions are very good and therefore fitnesswise we are very strong. Practice sessions conducted before the match went on very well, so hopefully taking these things into consideration we are going for a win,” said Meepage.
CR and FC: Nipuna Devinda, Lahiru Pavithra, Shane Sambandapperuma, Shemal Warnakulasuriya, Ishan Noor (captain), Tariq Saleh, Sasanka Ariyarathna, Arun Kumar, Kavindu De Costha and Ashan De Costha, Mekalanka Praboda, Amila Bandara, Sashan Mohamad , Kavindu Perera, Prince Chamara.
Army SC: Ashoka Jayalal (captain), Sameera Wickramanayaka, Dillepa Niroshan, Nalaka Maduranga, Nishantha Kobbekaduwa, Upul Abeynayaka, Chameera Silva, Manoj Silva, Rizvi Mohamad and Ashan Bandara, Mihiran Perera, Imanka Ariyapala, Dinusha Ariyapala, Sudaraka Dikkumbura, Gayan Salinda.