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Dushan returns with greater confidence

PROMISING Sri Lanka rugby player, Dushan Lewke has returned from New Zealand after playing top grade competitive rugby for a couple of months.

Sri Lanka No. 8 Lewke represented Spotswood United of the Taranaki province in the senior 'A' division league in New Zealand, better known in the international sporting world for its invisible 'All Blacks' rugby team.

Playing in New Zealand has given a tremendous boost to the career of former Royal, CH & FC and Sri Lanka No.8 who has now returned to the Sri Lanka national side with greater confidence.

Tomorrow's IRB World Cup qualifier between Sri Lanka and the hosts Thailand will be the first international outing for Lewke after his stint in New Zealand.

In an exclusive interview with the 'Daily News' shortly before his departure to Thailand, Sri Lanka No.8 Lewke said his premier division playing experience in New Zealand has given him greater confidence in the big league.

"It was a good experience to play some top level competitive rugby. It helps one to improve self confidence," he said.

Lewke, who follows an Australian Business Management degree program at the ACBT, said he would now look forward to future with greater confidence.

"My stint at Taranaki has been a blessing. It would definitely help me to play better rugby with greater confidence and face tight situations effectively," he said.

A proud product of Royal College, Lewke said the game is a highly competitive one in New Zealand and experience there would give one a distinct advantage.

"Playing such level of competitive rugby would also enable us to read the game well and face tense situations with courage, while keeping cool," said Lewke who represented the Reid Avenue school in 2001 and 2002 seasons, playing in over 45 'A' division league school games. Then he joined CH & FC and went on to represent the Maitland Crescent Club for two years.

Asked about the impact his father and former Sri Lanka national coach, DIG Nimal Lewke had in his career, Dushan said, "He played a dominant role and guided me to come up to present level." Dushan said he would be looking back to play another season for the New Zealand 'A' division club side.

"That would count a lot and put me in better shape when I play for the national team," a determined Lewke said.

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