Navy and Air Force out to impress in 'A' Division league
The Sri Lanka Navy which made a sensational re-entry into the club
rugby scene after a lapse of three years with a magnificent display at
the Club Rugby Sevens should be a force to be reckoned with in the
Caltex 'A' division league rugby tournament which begins in the second
week of May.
The sailors came up with a superb performance to clinch the Bowl
Championship in the Club Rugby Sevens at Nittawela and two weeks later
gave another sterling display in the Club Rugby Sevens at Longden Place.
They beat the more fancied Havelocks in the quarter-finals of the Cup
Championship and went down fighting to mighty Kandy SC by 12-19 in extra
time before losing to the formidable CH and FC by 7-14 in the Plate
Two top ruggerites who rendered yeoman service for the Navy during
the period 2001 to 2005 - flanker Ravi Jayasuriya and sturdily built No.
8 Sumedha Malewana will once again turn out for the Navy this year
having played for Havelocks and CH and FC respectively for the last
three years when the Navy did not play competitive rugby.
Malewana and Jayasuriya turned out for Sri Lanka with distinction and
they will form a formidable third row for Navy along with former Thomian
skipper Yoshitha Rajapaksa. Veteran prop forward U. G. M. Suranga will
also once again turn out for the Sailors along with ex-Kandy SC prop
Three outstanding ruggerites from Havelocks - fly half Samantha
Lakshan, centre Dilip Methruwan and full back Nuwan Hettiarachchi have
joined the Navy along with former CR scrum half Suranga Pushpakumara,
ex-Kandy SC winger Eranda Weerakkody, former Trinity and CR centre
Kosala Tissera and ex-CH and FC winger Niranjan Wickremaratne.
With their presence the sailors should be able to field a penetrative
three quarter line.
A coach with a proven track record - former Kingswoodian Ronnie
Ibrahim has been entrusted with the task of coaching the sailors and he
is determined to mould them into a formidable outfit which could give
the leading clubs a run for their money during the league season.
Last year's Plate champions of the Caltex 'A' division league, Sri
Lanka Air Force are also determined to give of their best in the
forthcoming 'A' division league rugby tournament.
The Air Force side is a blend of youth and experience. They will have
the services of several seasoned campaigners and talented youngsters and
should give the leading clubs a close run.
Led by prop forward Kosala Ranasinghe, the Airmen will have a
formidable pack with players of the calibre of Saumya Silva, Pubudu
Kodagoda, Tharaka Chandimal, Pradeep Kurukulasuriya and last year's
skipper Dinesh Weeraratne, in addition to last year's Trinity prop
forward Mohamed Riyazi.
Fly half Chanaka Chandimal and centre Suranga Arunashantha who donned
the Sri Lanka jersey at the Asian Five Nations tournament in Dubai
should play a vital role in Air Force's success this year. Chandimal
will pair off with young Radeesha Seneviratne while Arunashantha will
play alongside Charith Seneviratne as centres. Veteran Rohan Fernando
who has stood out with his safe collections and booming kicks to touch
should once again man the last line of defence with the wings likely to
be occupied by Roshan Ratnayake and last year's Antonian skipper Chanaka