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Hong Kong hold clear edge at Under-19 Asia Rugby Championship

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By Shamseer Jaleel

The Hong Kong Under-19 rugby outfit holds a clear edge in their second leg encounter against the Sri Lanka Under-19 team at the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) grounds tomorrow.

The winner on aggregate after both the legs will book their berth at the 2018 Junior World Rugby Tournament (JWRT) from Asian Zone Division II.

Kick-off is scheduled for 4.00 p.m. Sri Lankan time.

A Sri Lankan player offloads in time to secure the ball against Hong Kong in the ARC Division I encounter at the raceccourse grounds

Hong Kong outclassed Sri Lanka 37-8 in their opening encounter. Sri Lanka will miss out on their skipper Naveen Henakankanamage, who will have to sit out of the game due to a concussion he sustained in the first leg, along with key players Shashika Ashan and Gemunu Chethiya.

The loss of Henakankanamage will be a huge blow for Sri Lanka. He is an excellent player with outstanding leadership skills. Furthermore, he performed outstandingly at the Asian Sevens 2017 where he displayed fearless rugby against senior Asian teams.

Speaking to the Daily FT before departing to Hong Kong, Henakankanamage said: “I am in the process of recovery. I got a concussion in the Hong Kong game. Aveesha will be leading the side and I will be a standby and will need to judge my fitness level on the day of the game and together with the doctor’s advice I will make a decision.”  

Dharmaraja College schoolboy and Commonwealth Youth representative of the Under-18 Sevens outfit, Dulanjana Piyatissa, will serve as a replacement. Second-rower Shashika Ashan will also not make it into the squad to Hong Kong with the former Wesleyite having trouble with his shoulder. He will be replaced by Thomian Harith Senanayake.

The outfit is coached by Rajeev Perera and Lasintha De Costa with Sri Lanka Rugby High Performance Director Inthi Marikar overseeing the side.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong outfit is just a game away from their fifth consecutive Asian Rugby title with JWRT 2018 on the cards for them.

Pic by Sameera Peiris of SportsPhotography.lk

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