The 73rd annual Bradby Shield encounter will kick-off on May 20 (Saturday) when favourites Trinity host Royal in the first leg game at Trinity home grounds in Pallekele Stadium.
The match promises to be a close affair with Royal outfit under fly half Ovin Askey expect to give a torrid time to Trinity ‘Lions’ led by number eight Nathan Yee.
On current form, Royal will be fancied to go for a win and retain the coveted Bradby as well as the inter-school Division-1 Singer league rugby championship as well.
Trinity, who were going through a lean phase in the rugby during the past few years have emerged from the crisis to lead this years Singer Division 1 points table and trying to win this game to win back the league championship which eluded from them for the past 30 long years.
Incidentally, they have won the schools league way back in 1987 under the leadership of Trinity Lion and a cracking wing forward Tyrell Rajapaksha.
Royal, on the other hand, have had a brilliant season being in overall second place in the points table this year just behind Trinity college.
Trinity’s stronghold has been their penetrative outside backs while the forwards have combined to drive home the advantage beautifully under their head coach Lote Raikabula who is a former All Blacks national sevens player.
The player to watch out in the Royal side will be their skipper cum fly half Ovin Askey, hooker Hamza Reeza and deputy skipper and pencil-sized winger Shabith Feroz, who has become a thorn in the flesh of many opposition teams this year.
Askey and Feroz has been able to hit gaps at lightning speed and Trinity will need to contain the diminutive stand-off and winger if they are to make a game of this year’s tie.
Royal, who are out to regain the league rugby championship as well as to retain the Bradby, will look to their forward pack to keep the Trinity ‘Lions’ at bay.
All in all the team that could absorb pressure will finally come out victorious in this enthralling battle.
ROYAL COLLEGE (PROBABLE) Rashmal Fernando, Hamza Reeza, Himantha Hirushan, Ashen Fernando, Samadhi Induwara, Sasitha Siyath, Maleesha Madumewan, , Lennox Calyaneratne, Nikhil De Silva and Ovin Askey (Captain) , Nikil George, Thuleb Hassen, Janidu Dilshan, Shabith Feroz (Vice Captain) Shaqir Nawfer , Head Coach- Sanath Martis, Asst. Coach-Dushanth Lewke, Manager- Supun Warnakulasooriya
TRINITY COLLEGE (PROBABLE)
Shaveen Ekanayaka, Hasiru Weliwatte, Aveesha Piyankara, Rishane Madena, Pasan Samarawickrema, Keshawa Palayangoda, Kanesha Alwis, Nathan Yee(Captain), Anuka Boyagoda and Akitha Sakalasuriya, Amit Kulatunga, Dilukshan Dange, Waran Weerakoon, Reshan Bandaranayaka, Rashen Bandaranayake , Head Coach- Lote Raikabula, Asst.Coach- Buddhika Abeysinghe