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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.


Yoshitha Rajapaksa

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.

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