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Saturday, 26 June 2010






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Bradby Shield return match at Bogambara:

Can Royal tame Trinity Lions in their den?

Will Royal, with only one-point lead, be able to tame the Lions in their own den? This will be the big question to which the rugby fans be seeking an answer as Royal College scrum down with Trinity College in the second leg of their 66th Bradby Shield encounter at the Bogambara Stadium, Kandy this evening.

The first leg between the two premier rugby-playing schools in the country was an absolute thriller. As exclusively predicted in our match preview two weeks ago, it was a keen tussle for supremacy as Royal edged out Trinity by 38 points to 37.

It will be hard to predict the fate of the ‘Bradby’ though Trinity has an outside chance of regaining the much looked forward to shield in local rugby. If Trinity could storm in to the game early with the home advantage and take a sizable lead by midway in the first half, then Trinity could have a ‘Lions’ share’ in the ‘return’ leg.

On the other hand, Royal has played well in the Kandy ‘leg’ in last couple of years. That would help the Reid Avenue boys to keep their morale high and forget Trinity’s home advantage altogether. If they could capitalise on the thrilling solitary point lead they took in Colombo and score a couple of early tries, Royal could well be in a position to regain the coveted Bradby Shield, offered since 1945 in honour of former Royal Principal, the late E.L. Bradby.

The overall strengths of the two teams look almost identical and it could once again become a nail-biting game which would keep the spectators on the edges of their seats most of the time.

Royal, in nine outings this season, has won six games and lost three.

Royal team is brimming with confidence after their smashing 38-12 victory over S.Thomas last weekend to retain the Michael Gunaratne Trophy for the fifth consecutive year. The Reid Avenue boys ran down as many as six tries to humble Thomians. Considering the manner in which Royal controlled this game, they should well give Trinity a torrid time.

Royal’s rich harvest of 21 points in the second half sounds a warning to the Lions. Trinity has won fivematches and lost four in the nine outings they had so far this season.

The Reid Avenue boys must make full use of their heavy and mobile set of forwards, if they are to take early control of today’s game. In contrast, Trinity’s penetrative set of three quarters are roaring to put pressure on Royal defenders.

As stated in the first leg preview, place kicking could well be the decisive factor in which Trinity will have a slight advantage. But Royal has improved their place kicking in the last couple of games and are determined to make full use of the good ball.

The history of the Royal-Trinity inter-school rugby series goes way back to 1920, thus making 2010 the 91st year in rugby rivalry between the two schools. However, the Bradby Shield was introduced only in 1945 and ever since, it has been a two-leg affair.

Of the 65 Bradby Shield encounters played to-date, Trinity has won 35 while Royal has 29 wins to their credit with one draw in 1992.

Royal are the current custodians of the Bradby Shield having won both matches 22-12 and 31-15 last year. Trinity’s last ‘Bradby’ victory was in 2008 when they won the first leg 24-12, lost the return match 0-8 but won the shield on a higher aggregate. Trinity also has the honour of recording the highest sequence of wins from 1952 to 1957 while Royal’s best is four in-a-row from 2001 to 2004.

Royal has the distinction of recording the largest victory in the series. Led by Zulki Hamid, Royal won the shield with a thumping aggregate of 83-0 in 2002. The narrowest margin of win has been registered by Trinity, winning the shield with a 25-24 aggregate in 1997.

Probable teams:

ROYAL COLLEGE: Yudith Karunaratne, Adil Jabbar, Iroshan de Alwis, Thilina Ratnayake, Shehan Dassanayake, Chilanka Samaraweera, Madusha Kularatne, Shehan Pathirana, Deen Cassim and Arshad Jamaldeen, Duminda Attygalle (Captain), Rimzie Jamaldeen, Mushin Faleel, Dilshan Palihakkara, Chamara Dabare.

TRINITY COLLEGE: Rukmal Dodantenne, Murad Ramzeen, Mohamed Rizmy, Akila Wickremarachchi, Sachinthaka Perera, Damith Dissanayke (Captain), Kanishka Hulangamuwa, Shannon Armstrong, Sanjaya Somasiri and Rehan Weerakoon, Mohamed Sheshan, Kanchana Ramanayake, Asif Ainaff, Akila Dissanayake, Kanil Seneviratne.

Referee: Dilroy Fernando



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