Kandy, CR set for high-octane show
If rugby has turned into a beautiful game in Sri Lanka, then today's
second round League match between Kandy and CR and FC would be like a
supermodel on the catwalk at the Nittawela stadium where the atmosphere
will be something that fans can almost touch.
A packed house of over 15,000 is expected to witness the contest
although the result will in no way affect the standings in the League
that Kandy has already secured as the only unbeaten team.
The defending champions Kandy had a tough outing against Army last
week and can only look to reassure their fans that they have not lost an
inch or diminished in their pride and enthusiasm while CR in that same
week had much to do to subdue a Police team.
Kandy have scored as many as 75 tries as they posted 11 wins on the
trot while CR and FC have lost three games playing the same number of
matches as Kandy with 45 tries.
But CR and FC although far behind Kandy in try-scoring makes up
perhaps the only team that has a worthy status in the tournament and
playing to a pattern and only lacking in the final touches. Coached by
Kandy product Imthi Marikar and led by Ishan Noor CR will need to do
something special today if they are to keep the home team in check. It
is their line that will have to deliver in both attack and defence.
Kandy's next two games will be against Navy at Welisara and in the
following week against Havelocks at Nittawela and today's match may
provide them with what they need going into the closing stages of the
Kandy will be without two of their stand-out players fly half Fazil
Marija and centre Lavanga Perera who are recovering from injuries.
Speculation is rife that Kandy may deploy Nigel Ratwatte in his pet
position as fullback and bring in Arshad Jamaldeen to play as fly half.
The move could pave the way for better coordination and ball-handling
by their backs.
All in all the match is expected to produce some electrifying stuff
as the Nittawela venue is famed for with spectators likely to get what
they pay for.
Kandy SC: Piyuma Manchanayake, Damith Dissanayake, Kishore Jehan,
Shehan Dimthri, Gayan Ratnayake, Heshan Kalhara, Shehan Pathirana,
Buwaneka Udangamuwa, Roshan Weeraratne (captain), Arshad Jamaldeen,
Dansha Dyan, Gayan Weeraratne, Lavanga Perera (subject to fitness test),
Wishvamithra Jayasinghe, Nigel Ratwatte, Sean Wijesinghe (coach)
CR and FC: N Devinda, Lahiru Pavithra, Shane Sambandaperuma, Ishan
Noor (captain), Jason Dissanayake, Tariq Salih, Sasanka Ariyaratne, Arun
Kumar, Kavindu de Costa, Ashan de Costa, Mekalanka Praboda, Kanchana
Ramanayake, Sashna Mohamed, Kavindu Perera, Prince Chamara, Imthie
Referee:- Irshad Cader