CR to take on Kandy in potential barnburner

Thursday, 30 November 2017 01:08 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Shamseer Jaleel

Defending league champions Kandy Sports Club will be in Colombo for the third time this season when they lock horns with CR&FC at the Longdon Place grounds which is the pick of this week’s matches.

Kandy have gotten to the peak with three bonus point wins, one in Colombo and two in Kandy, but they were unable to secure a bonus point against CH when the game ended ahead of schedule due to bad light. Their wins against Air Force, Army and Police were all one-sided. On the other hand CR have gone through a rough season so far. They lost out their regular skipper Kavindu Perera due to a suspension but he will be back in the team for this game. Their playmaker Tharinda Ratwatte too has been inconsistent with his play, especially with his kicks at goal. The major responsibility of the team has fallen on the broad shoulders of Omalka Gunaratne, who has been omnipresent for the Red Shirts. Shanshan Mohamed will also look to be at his best. Kandy’s three-quarters are in peak form with Dhanuska Ranjan, Richard Dharmapala, Gayan Weeraratne and Fazil Marija looking dangerous. Their regular scrum half Roshan Weeraratne is expected to play after his injury and this will allow Sooriyabandara to come onto the field in the latter half. Their fullback Thilina Wijesinghe’s kicks will be vital for the Kandy outfit. On form Kandy should pull this off but a close tussle is expected although CR has already lost to CH&FC and Army. The referee for this game will be Dinka Pieris.

Police will be hosting the high-riding CH outfit at Police Park. With their recent good form and win over CR along with a close game against Havelocks, CH should have things their own way. CH has some very talented players such as Lee Keegal, Sajith Saranga, Sathya Ranathunge and Yoshitha Rajapaksa all playing at their peak. Coached by Laga and with Ronny Ibrahim back as the Rugby Chairman, a bonus point win is on the cards for the CH outfit. The referee for the game is Irshard Cader.    

Navy will host the Air Force outfit at Welisara and the Sailors will be expected to secure yet another win. However, their last win over Police was an off-colour outing. Dhanushka Perera and company should not take things lightly as Air Force are a dangerous outfit on their day and are capable of beating any team. The game will be refereed by Weeranga.

The closest game this weekend will be the one between Army and Havelocks at Ratmalana. On form both teams are going through a bad patch but the soldiers hold a slight edge after their previous weekend’s morale-boosting win over CR. 

Havies are going through an inconsistent season after losing to Navy but pulling through in the CH game with a close margin of five points. They are nowhere near their peak as yet this season. They will expect a lot from Dulaj Perera, Sharo Fernando and their Skipper Muller but will miss out on Kevin Dixon due to an injury he suffered in their last game. Army will depend heavily on Jayalal and Gayan Salinda to pull this one off.