The Red Brigade is back to fight for top slot
After many a season the CR v CH derby game will be eagerly
anticipated by the domestic rugby fraternity. After some difficult
seasons CH have acquired the services of some foreign players, and
should enhance their performances when compared to other seasons.
CR too, have their own foreigner, but he is a coach rather than a
The Longdon Place lads have been reacquainted with their former
coach, Australian Grant Dwyer, who is hoping to take his Club to heights
not reached in recent times.
The perennial bridesmaid in recent times, CR will this year find
their usually assured second spot in the league table threatened. But
that threat will bring with it the very real opportunity for them to
move up that coveted one spot in the table.
In the face of renewed challenges from the bottom four Clubs and the
usual threats from Navy and Kandy, CR have been quietly raising the
notches in training.
Blessed with some outstanding school boy talent from the last few
seasons, CR have an interesting mix of personnel.
Dushanth Lewke leads them for the second consecutive time from the
no.8 position. In his pack he has the services of deputy skipper
Terrence Henry - the only CR player to start all the Sri Lanka games in
the recent A5N - skilful hooker Anuja Perera and the evergreen Dunstan
Dimitri, Mohamed Rizwan and Hasaranga will shore up the front row and
attempt to emulate the devastating scrum anchored by Mohamed, Prasantha
and Boteju on Grant's last stint. With ex - skipper Ashen Karthelis,
Sharo Fernando, Chilanka Samaraweera and with ex Trinity, Sri Lanka
player Duminda de Silva adding to the fold CR have genuine ball winners
in the line out, while the giant Hasitha Perera adds muscle to the
The CR third row has been beset by injuries and absences but still
boast the likes of national cap Ishan Noor and alongside young players
like the combative Gayan Rathnage, Hasthika Bandaranayake and hard
working Idris Omar.
In the half back positions CR is possessed of the gifted Srinath
Sooriyabandara who will start for his Club in the absence of Zulker
Hamid. Ashan De Costa and Niroshan Fernando will rotate at fly half with
Nigel Ratwatte out for the remainder of the season.
National poolist Shabeer Mohamed takes over the no.12 jersey for the
second year in a row and Sri Lanka player Lasintha De Costa will man the
outside centre position, while all the time looking over his shoulder at
the likes of Muhsin Faleel and the talented, underrated Nuwan Chamara.
CR's back three is imposing with Rizah Mubarak at full back and
Vishwamithra Jayasinghe with scorching pace on the wings, partnered by
either Chamara Dabare or Heshan Guneratne. Mohamed Sherriff also comes
back home and can slot into the backline in any position to destroy
The Club has serious depth and talent. If their set pieces are as
effective as when Grant last coached, and the defence is as watertight
as it used to be - conceding only 3 tries in an entire season - then CR
will no doubt be in the running for the Championship.
It will be hard work, but the red jerseys don't show blood. Jivan
Gunatilake, the assistant coach, was uncompromising as a player, and
together with old hand Manager Rohan Chinthaka, the CR will aim to
fulfil its potential this year, in what is anticipated to be the most
competitive league tournament in a decade.