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Sri Lanka confront Kazakhstan today

RUGBY: The Sri Lankan ruggerites who suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Arabian Gulf by the staggering margin of 11-52 will confront Kazakhstan in their second match of the inaugural IRB organised Asian Nations series in Almaty, Kazakhstan today.

The Sri Lankans who beat Kazakhstan by 24 points to 12 in Colombo two years ago in the return match after losing 7-12 in Almaty in the first game of the Asian Zone qualifying round of the Rugby World Cup have made three changes for today's game.

Prop forward Nilan Ekanayake who failed to impress against Arabian Gulf has been replaced by Kandy SC player Kishore Jehan while centre Chamara Vithanage who gave a pathetic display in the same match makes way for CR's centre Mohamed Sheriff. Sri Lanka's number one scrum half Amjad Buksh who missed the Arabian Gulf match due to the demise of his father makes a welcome return to the side at the expense of his club-mate Zulki Hamid.

The Sri Lankan forward could not match upto the bigger made Arabian Gulf forwards comprising mostly expatriates and today too the Lankans will have the tough task of containing the massive Kazakhstan forwards who are sure to dominate up front. With limited possession likely to come Sri Lanka's way the Lankans should strive to set the three quarters in motion at every turn.

Fly half Fazil Marija should send out the ball quickly to the two centres Mohamed Sheriff and Pradeep Liyanage who should be able to breach the Kazakhstan defence but the biggest threat to the home team will be posed by skipper Sanjeewa Jayasinghe with his powerful runs down the flank.

The Sri Lanka team:

Jayantha Ranaweera, Anuranga Walpola, Kishore Jehan, Senaka Bandara, Ashen Karthelis, Sean Wijesinghe, Dilanka Wijesekera, Dushanth Lewke, Amjad Buksh and Fazil Marija, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe (Captain), Mohamed Sheriff, Pradeep Liyanage, Dinesh Kumara, T. A. Silva.

Substitutes - Nishantha Walagedera, Charaka Hewawasam, Achala Perera, Dinesh Sanjeewa, Dilan de Zoysa, Asanka Rodrigo, Lasintha de Costa.

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