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Sunday, 28 February 2016

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Rugby's one-horse race ends today

Kandy Sports Club will play Havelocks Sports club in their last League rugby match of the season today at 4 pm at Nittawela in what is seen as an anti-climax to a season that provided many a disappointment with just one horse in the running for the title.

As such, the match result is a foregone conclusion and irrespective of what happens Kandy will be the new League champs after the final whistle is blown.

It will be the 19th time that Kandy will take the League title after first winning it in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. 2014, 2015 and 2016. As much as Havelocks Sports Club may desire to become the first team to conquer Kandy Sports Club up at Nittawella, the home team will want to preserve the record which means so much to them.Havelocks may be sparing no pain or effort to win this one.

They've been taught a kind of training that would not be out of place in today's game. But whatever said and done or planned it is difficult to beat the champions in their home den.

The selectors caught in the grip of this pre-match fever have made a few significant changes by introducing some young top class players.

There is a striking similarity in the style of play of both teams. Hard-working forwards foraging for the ball, winning it, and giving it back to their speedy threes and then backing them up in attack.

The champion Kandy outfit will undoubtedly take the field as favourites. They are playing on their home ground and richly deserve the trophy after beating all the clubs that contested the League.

Kandy beat Havelocks in the first round game in Colombo and to think of the Park club causing an upset is extremely remote even though the Nittawela club will be without some regular players due to injury.

From the spectators point of view, both sides have what it takes to provide the sparks. Hard-running threes, with Kandy able to have made better use of their backline, and Havelocks not too far behind.

Kandy SC: Piyumal Manchanayake, Damith Dissanayake, Kishore Jehan, Shehan Dimithri, Gayan Ratnayake, Heshan Kalhara, Shehan Pathirana, Buwaneka Udangammuwa, Roshan Weerarathne (captain), Nigel Ratwatte, Richard Dharmapala, Gayan Weeraratne, Oshan Perera, Vishwamithra Jayaisnghe, Danusha Dayan, Srinath Suriyabandara, Arshad Jamaldeen.

Havelock SC: Dushmantha Priyadharshana, Prasad Padmasanka, Ganuka Dissanayake, Sithum Peiris, Janika Jayasuriya, Shenal Deelaka, Rohitha Rajapaksa, Sudarshana Muthuthanthri, Rahul de Silva, Samantha Laskshan, Kevin Dixon, Nishon Perera, Hirantha Perera, Sandun Hearth (captain), Rimzie Jamaldeen

Referee: Aruna Rankothge

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