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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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Weerakoddy ends career

RUGBY: The playmaker, Jonnie Wilkinson of Sri Lankan rugby Nalaka Weerakoddy of Kandy Sports Club hanged up his boots after yesterday's grand final of the Clifford Cup at his home ground in Nittawela. He ended his club rugby career spanning over 10 years.

After his school career at Kingswood College in Kandy he donned the Kandy Youth jersey before crossing over to CR & FC. He joined Kandy Sports Club in 1997 and did a yeoman service for the upcountry club where they won most of the trophies on offer. Nalaka led the champions outfit Kandy SC in 2001.

Nalaka who started his sports career as a football player later switched on to the oval shaped ball game. He started his International career representing the Sri Lanka Youth outfit under the leadership of former Trinity "Lion" Harris Omar. Nalaka was the vice captain of the touring party to Hong Kong for the Junior Asiad in 1995. Since 1996 Nalaka represented the country as full back and was a regular member of the sevens team until recently.

He created a Sri Lankan record and most probably a world record when he executed a superb neat drop goal from a distance of 58 meters in a recently concluded second round game against CH & FC in Colombo.

Nalaka who spoke to the Sunday Observer paid tribute to his coaches at school A. Gunadasa and Ananda Kasturiarachchi who tought him the alphabet in rugby. He further said that at club level it was Asanga Seneviratne and Dr. Maiya Gunasekera who laid his foundation as a professional payer.

He ended by saying after coming to Kandy it was Malik Samarawickrema who helped him to come to this stage in my life. Malik has helped so many young rugby players around the country not only by providing employment but also financially. He made himself available for Rugby Asiad which will be hosted by the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) in Colombo in November 2007.

The former Rajans' and national winger Indrajith Bandaranayake too will be missed by the Sri Lankans as he will be migrating very shortly to Australia. Indrajith who played rugby for his alma-mater in 1989 and 1990 was a star cricketer.

One of the rare and loyal players to the club Indrajith represented the Kandy Sports Club from 1990-2004. He led the side in 1994.

Kandy Sports Club will be having a farewell lunch at Earls Regency for both Nalaka and Indrajith today.

 

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