HSBC Asian Five Nations Rugby Tournament:
Sri Lanka firm favourites to beat Chinese Taipei
Sri Lanka will take the field as firm favourites when they confront
Chinese Taipei in their opening match in the HSBC Asian Five Nations
Rugby Tournament today (Sunday) at Havelock Park.
The Lankans have been training vigorously in view of the championship
under the guidance of their South African coach Raveen DuPlessis and
should go flat out to launch their campaign on a winning note by
overcoming Chinese Taipei.
Having beaten them with a fairly big margin (36-8) when they met each
other in last year’s tournament held in Philippines, the Lankans led by
third-row forward Yoshitha Rajapaksa have a strong set of forwards
comprising Kishore Jehan, Henry Terrence, Namal Rajapaksa, Dinesh
Sanjeeva, Sajith Saranga, Sayuru Anthony and Sumedha Malewana.
In Fazil Marija they have an experience fly half who will link with
his club mate Roshan Weeraratne.
Chula Susantha, Gayan Weeraratne and the two wingers Chamara Dabare
and Sandun Herath are fast runners who could test the Chinese Taipei
defence to the hilt.
The Lankans having missed a golden opportunity of earning a promotion
by losing to Philippines 18/28 in the decider last year, will be
determined to win the tournament by beating Thailand on April 3rd and
the final game against Kazakhstan on April 6.
In the last decade or so there have been about forty countries
playing serious rugby in Asia. Prior to that there were only eight
nations in the tournament which was called the Asiad. But today Asia has
become the largest rugby playing continent in the world. But, it is sad
that only one team qualifies to play in the Rugby World Cup.
The Chinese Taipei will field a young side with a number of newcomers
who are bound to stretch the Lankans to the maximum. Sri Lanka will be
hosting an Asian tournament for the fourth time.
In the previous three years 74’, 90’, 2007. From the year 2009 the
format was changed with the teams divided into divisions with the elite
teams Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates (UAE) playing in
the top division along with last year’s winner Philippines.
Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan and Thailand are competing in
the division two and the winner will be elevated to the top division.
Sri Lanka (from): Henry Terrence, Dushmantha Priyadharshana (Havelocks),
Kishore Jehan (Kandy SC), Sathya Ranatunga (Navy), Namal Rajapaksa
(Navy), Anurudha Walpola (Kandy), Dinesh Sanjeeva (Kandy), Shenal Dias (Havelocks),
Hasitha Perera (Up-Country Lions), Sajith Saranga (Up-Country Lions),
Yoshitha Rajapaksa (Captain, Navy), Sharo Fernando (Up-Country Lions),
Sayuru Anthony (Navy), Sumedha Malawana (Navy), Roshan Weeraratne (Kandy
SC), Fazil Marija (Vice-Captain, Kandy), Rehan Weerakoon (Navy), Chula
Susantha (Navy), Dinusha Chaturanga (Navy), Gayan Weeraratne (Kandy),
Pradeep Liyanage (Kandy), Chamara Dabare (Havelocks), Sandun Herath (Havelocks),
Mohammed Sheriff (Havelocks) and Reaza Mubarak (Navy).
Chinese Taipei from. Cheng Po-Wen, Chiu Min-Ching, Chuan Wen-Ho,
Chuang Po-Yao, Chiang Chieu-Yu, Lin Chia-Wei, Chiang Cheng-Hsien, Chen
Kuo-Lun, Liu Ta- Cheng, Chuang Ming-Che, Hsieh Pin-Yi, Lee Chia-Wang, Lu
Wei-San (Captain), Lin Wei-Ming, Lu Wei-Fan, Chen Chia-Han, Chen Chih-Kang,
Chen Ting-Chang, Cheng Po-Wen, Chou Po- Yen, Lo Wu-Hsien, Pan
Chih-Hsiens, Yang Han- yu, Yeh Tai-Ting, Ho Ming-Hsien, Liu Ta-Cheng.