Thursday, 5 February 2015 00:00
This weekendâ€™s inter-club rugby encounters will be an all Forces affair. The first game will be between defending champions Navy and Air Force at Welisara, followed by a fixture which will see Army hosting Police at the race course rugby grounds. Both games are scheduled to be played on 7 February.
Sri Lanka Navy, after suffering defeat at the hands of Havelocks, will be firing on all cylinders when they host a much improved Air Force who boast a number of Fijians in their ranks. Air Force thrashed the Hambantota Sharks over half a century but unfortunately for them their points were taken off due to the Down South Club pulling out of the ongoing tournament due to injury to more than a dozen of their players.
Furthermore, CH&FC too pulled out due to a lack of grounds for training plus the lack of a main sponsor. This has ended the inter-club league in a seven-team format. This weekend will not feature the three leading clubs in the tournament - CR&FC, Havelocks and Kandy â€“ as all three will have a rest week.
Navy on the other hand thrashed the Sharks and then beat Army easily but went down to an improved Havelocks who are hungry for the cup.
Navy should have things their own way but need to give their best effort and not take the Airmen lightly as they are more than capable of creating a shock upset. Much will be expected from placekicker Nuwan Hettiarachchi, Reza Mubarak and Terence Henry.
The Police and Army game should be a close affair. The Cops were beaten by Havies 21-3 and Kandy 37-3. Army edged out CR&FC 21-18 and were thrashed by over 40 points by the Sailors.
Police are capable of toppling Army but everyone in the team will need to play their part rather than relying on their Fijian imports to do the bulk of the work.
Army too are not short on talent and possess some outstanding youngsters such as Anurudha Karunatilake, Shashan Mohamed, Randika Alwis and Prince Chamara who add power to the outfit. Going on performance, the Soldiers should pull this off, though it should be a close-fought encounter.
Meanwhile the inquiry into the Havelocks-Navy encounter and the Kandy SC letter to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union citing poor refereeing will be taken up for discussion today.