Police’s Rajitha Sansoni runs into a tackle in their match against CH&FC at Race Course which the law enforcement officers won 45-26 | (Pic by Sassanda Liyanarachchi)

Rugby is a game that builds character. Colombo Hockey and Football Club knows this truly well. The team from Maitland Crescent showed both character and gusto against a superior Police SC outfit as its players came back fighting to the game to earn the respect of an appreciative crowd.

True enough Police won the game as expected and the score line read 45 points 22. But what was more digestible than the seven tries that the law enforcement officers ran down was the manner in which the host team penetrated their opponent’s defence. The CH&FC players showed they had fast legs and even the forwards stole the show in the second half with a rousing display. For the record, the Gymkhana Club players produced three tries, two conversions and a penalty. CH may lie last in the points table (after six weeks of rugby), but they showed in no uncertain terms that they have the stuff to produce a few upsets this season.

Table leaders, Havelock Sports Club produced thunder at Havelock Park when they downed Navy SC 26-19 in a closely fought out game. This is sweet revenge for the Park Club players who have struggled over the years when they have clashed with the players representing the sea-going force. Navy despite losing remain in second place after six weeks of rugby.

The Park Club is coached this season by Ronnie Ibrahim who knows the art of getting the best out of youth players. Havies is a club which attracts juvenile players, it is time they did all they can to retain the talent they nurture. Havelock Sports Club should continue to be a breeding place for rugby players, but they must keep their ‘doors’ shut so that affluent clubs don’t get to poach their players.

Air Force did well to beat Army SC 32-29 in a game which could have gone either way. Air Force badly needed this win because their solid start this season was dampened by a few unexpected defeats. At present, they lie fourth in the points table, but that shock win they pulled off against Kandy SC is still spoken of. This is a team to watch this season where the competition has increased so much that the spectator gets to witness thrilling rugby. These high scoring matches also indicate something negative. What has happened in the tackling department?

There was once a time when players like Hisham Abdeen, P.G. Guneratne, Saman Jayasinghe, Marco de Silva and Nishantha Bopearachchi excelled in defence. At present, the tackle has been redefined and there is so much technicalities involved in this aspect of the game. But what’s the use of all this advancement if a player can’t be brought down and the score line be kept low?

Kandy SC’s title claims have now been laid to rest. They did well to beat CR&FC last week in Kandy and the scores read 53 points to Kandy and 29 to the Red Shirts. Kandy SC could be going through a transformation phase where the players are trying to work along with their new coach Sean Wijesinghe. According to our Kandy Correspondent, the club’s former coach Johan Taylor has been invited back to serve the club. The Nittawela Club has some promising players in the likes of Danush Dayan, Wishwamithra Jayasinghe, Richard Dharmapala, Fazil Marija, Dhanushka Ranjan, Soyuru Anthony and Thilina Wijesinghe. Kandy SC lie third in the points table after their sixth match this season.

CR&FC is a team that is too good to be on the losing side this season. The side is led by the experienced prop forward Sean Sammandapperuma who has a bunch of promising players under him. Players like Tharinda Ratwatte, Ashan de Costa, Kavindu Perera, Ishan Noor, Banuka Nanayakkara, Supun Warnakulasuriya, Rizah Mubarak and Sasanka Ariyaratne carry their hopes this season. CR despite the loss are placed fifth
in the points table.

An Army SC forward makes a break in the team’s match against Air Force which the latter won 32-29 at Ratmalana | (Pic by Mushtaq Thasleem)
An Army SC forward makes a break in the team’s match against Air Force which the latter won 32-29 at Ratmalana | (Pic by Mushtaq Thasleem)