The second round games in the Caltex league will commence this weekend. Kandy will be pitted against Navy and traditional rivals CR will lock horns with the Havies. Both Navy and Havies lost their first round games to these opponents and will feel that that were the victims of poor decisions by the referee. That is all the past and the teams will have learnt from their shortcomings in the first round. Whilst the Kandy / Navy game will be at Nittawela the CR / Havies will be at the home of Lankan rugby at Longdon place.
Kandy has obviously not looked their imposing best as done in the previous years and the back division look very unsettled. Navy on the other hand are being brilliantly led by skipper Yoshitha and with Dev Anand at the vital fly half position are a force to be reckoned with. Will they be able to beat Kandy will be the big question that will be answered on Saturday. They have done it in the past and have the ability do it once more.
Over the past few years with the decline in Havies rugby, the traditional CR / Havies game has taken a backstage. This has also been due to the fact that there has been a marked improvement in the standards of certain other teams. To the rugby purist the CR / Havies game is considered top drawer stuff and the improved performance of Havies this year has made this game a must see this year. Speaking to a number of rugby stalwarts a few days ago they were all unanimous in their opinion that this traditional game must be given the prominence that it deserves. The passion with which the players donned the Red or the pink and brown jersey was a treat to watch. There are a number of former players who still cherish the jersey that they wore at this crucial encounter as well as the little club flags that were on sale prior to each game. The arrival of expatriate players has obviously had its positives and Havies will bank on the new centre to deliver. CR will have their work cut out and the battle of the two number eights should be fascinating. As I have said in a previous column, there is a shortage of quality number eights in the country and skipper Lewke is seen as the best in the business. Thus his performance against the unrelenting and tireless Havies expatriate will be a treat. The two teams will vie for the late Commander Mathysz trophy. Havies need to beat CR by a margin of six points in order get hold of the trophy, something that have not had in their trophy cupboard for a long time. CR on the other had will be keen to prove that the win in the first round was not a flash in the pan and that they are the team to win the cup in a few weeks from now.
The current weather conditions would be ideal for some fast and open rugby and I sincerely hope that the think tank of both camps adopt such an approach. So go ahead and make sure that you arrive at the grounds early if you want to get a good seat after going through the routine hassles of finding a decent parking slot.