Domestic inter-club champions Kandy Sports Club will get an opportunity to contest the Asia Rugby Western Club Champions League in Dubai which is scheduled for the first week of September.
Last year Kandy Sports Club was invited to participate in the inaugural championship where invitations were sent to four champion clubs situated in the cross-border. These teams were domestic rugby champions in the UAE, GCC, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka.
Kandy SC accepted this invitation as a challenge to compete with teams which had fielded players. The organizer of this tournament is Qatar Rugby Committee and American Football Committee (QEAFC).
Doha RFC clinched the inaugural West Asian Club Rugby Championship beating Kandy SC 29-17 in the final played in Dubai last year. Kandy Sports Club were minus seven of their regulars who were doing national duty at the Asian Region Rugby Football Union 7’s Tournament.
In the opening game which was played under lights, Olymp RFC from Kazakhstan held Kandy SC to a thrilling 35-all draw. At ‘lemons’ Kandy SC led 28-22.
Kandy Sports Club scored their points from five tries, two conversions and two penalties while Olymp RFC collected their points through six tries, one conversion and one penalty. It was Tongan Koto Pongi and Kenyan Oscar Ouma who spearheaded most of the Kandy SC tries. The two conversions and the two penalties were put over by Arshad Jamaldeen and full back Thilina Wijesinghe. The game was poised for a close finish with both teams not having things their own way. Both teams displayed great speed and impressive ball handling skills. Kandy SC dominated the first half by over powering their way in the lose mauls and tight scrums. Olymp RFC not to be outdone played the game of their lives. They played with a lot of purpose and exhibited good rugby skills and technique. They scored 13 points in the last quarter of the game to earn the draw.
The second game was against Abu Dhabi Saracens RFC. This game could not proceed, despite the presence of both teams, due to the unavailability of an ambulance. The home club affirmed that they ordered the ambulance, but it had not arrived. The presence of an ambulance is mandatory according to the tournament rules. At the end Kandy Sports Club were awarded a walk over with full points.
The third game was against Doha RFC who were packed with Europeans confidently pocketed the title with a win over Kandy SC. At the final whistle the scoreboard read 26 points to 17. Kandy SC playing without seven of their top regular players saw their fitness levels and defence put to the test in the dying stages of the game. They ended up as a team that played with sheer guts and determination despite the odds. In this game Kandy SC, having held territory and possession throughout the game, failed to turn the match in their favour. Doha RFC was in a unique position having won all their games in the tournament.
Last year’s outing for Kandy SC prior to the Inter club season was a great one. This is how the teams fared at last year’s tournament: Doha RFC played 3, won 3, points for 107, points against 64 (13 points), Kandy SC played 3 won 1, Drawn I, walk over 1, points for 72, points against 64, (Points 8) Saracens RFC played 3, won 1, lost 2, points for 52, points against 51 (points 6), Olymp RFC played 3, lost 2, drawn 1, points for 39, points against 132. (Points 3)