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CR in hard fought 23-10 win over Air Force

RUGBY: CR and FC scored a hard fought 23 points (one goal, two tries, two penalties) to 10 (one goal, one penalty) win over a gallant Air Force outfit in their Caltex 'A' division league rugby match played at Air Force grounds, Ratmalana yesterday after leading 15-0 at 'lemons'.

Air Force's forwards came up with a terrific display in the loose to give the powerful CR 'eight' a torrid time.

Air Force's Saumya Silva, Ranasinghe, Soysa, Niranga, Weeraratne and skipper Kurukulasuriya gave of their best to match up to their counterparts. The CR duo of Dharmatilleke and Gayan Fernando held sway in the line-outs while the set scrums were shared between CR's Chaturanga and Air Force's Vithanage.

CR's famed three quarters too could not make much headway as their centres Mohamed Sheriff and Lasintha de Costa were brought down time and again by their opposite numbers Rushika Fernando and Charith Seneviratne with bone-crunching tackles which resulted in the CR wingers Radhika Hettiarachchi and Nuwan Chamara being kept in cold storage. Air Force's full back Rohan Fernando also had a grand game.

He stood out with his safe collections and booming kicks to touch and made some daring runs by joining the line to form the overlap on several occasions and had the honour of scoring his team's only try late in the second half.

CR surged into the lead in the 18th minute when centre Mohamed Sheriff fired across a 25-metre penalty.

Nine minutes later CR won a 10-metre scrum and No. 8 Navin Wijetunge barged through to touch down mid-left. Sheriff missed the conversion and CR led 8-0.

In the 34th minute the ball came CR's way off a loose maul in mid-field and the Red Shirts set their three quarters in motion and winger Nuwan Chamara put the finishing touches to the move by touching down mid-left. Mohamed Sheriff made no mistake with the conversion and CR led 15-0 at the breather.

In the second minute after resumption CR's full-back Ashan de Costa put over a 15 metre penalty to make it 18-0. In the 21st minute of the second half the Airmen reduced the deficit when fly-half Nalin Sirisena fired across a 30-metre penalty.

Eight minutes later Air Force won a scrum in the CR '25' and scrum-half Radeesha Seneviratne slung out a pass to full-back Rohan Fernando who sliced through the CR defence and ran over 20 metres to touch down under the posts. Nalin Sirisena added the extra points to make it 18-10.

Five minutes before the final whistle CR's full-back Ashan de Costa made a long kick from mid-field and centre Lasintha de Costa who chased it, picked up the ball and sped over 20 metres to score by the right corner flag. Sheriff missed the conversion and CR ran out winners by 23 points to 10.

Referee: Nizam Jamaldeen.

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