Kandy SC face fierce challenge from Navy in Clifford Cup final
Navy Sports Club since their re-entry into the 'A' Division rugby
arena have proved to be worthy opponents to mighty Kandy Sports Club and
in a fitting finale to the 2011 rugby season these two teams will clash
in the final of the Clifford Cup - club rugby's richest prize at the
Royal Sports Complex on September 17 (Saturday) at 4.30 p.m.
Yoshitha Rajapaksa (Navy SC Captain)
Senaka Bandara (Kandy SC Captain)
The sailors had the rare honour of beating Kandy SC at Welisara by
11-10 (2009) and 12-11 (2010) and this year pulled off another
sensational 29-25 win at the same venue after losing the first round
game 12-15 at Nittawela and will be hell-bent on toppling Kandy SC and
bagging the most prestigious trophy in club rugby the Clifford Cup for
the first time in their history.
Navy's rugby reached great heights in the second round of the Caltex
'A' Division League with three smashing victories over Kandy SC (29-25),
Havelocks (35-19) and CR and FC (33-13) to emerge runners up in the 'A'
Division League and in the Clifford knock-out Tournament propelled by
the individual brilliance of Bilal Hassan and Dev Anand overcame Police
(15-12) and Havelocks (23-12) to storm into the final.
But the sailors won't have things their own way in the final as they
will be confronting a Kandy SC outfit which will be determined to retain
the Clifford Cup for the fifth successive year by overcoming the Navy.
The lads from Kandy suffered a major setback at the start of the
season-losing the services of full back Saliya Kumara and No 8 Keith
Gurusinghe (who were suspended by the IRB for allegedly taking a banned
drug) and Sri Lanka skipper and flanker Sean Wijesinghe due to a knee
But Kandy SC obtained the services of some talented youngsters-
Antonian full back Tharindu Chanaka, Kingswoodian Heshan de Silva and
Peterite flanker Asitha Ratnayake who contributed immensely as Kandy SC
retained the Caltex 'A' Division League Title for a record 12th
Kandy Sports club boast of the best three quarter-line in the club
rugby scene. The halves combination of Roshan Weeraratne and Fazil
Marija have hit off smoothly. Weeraratne has dished out some clean
passes to fly halt Fazil Marija whose daring breaks had the opponents
defence in disarray. Centres Pradeep Liyanage and Gayan Weeraratne are
capable of tearing apart the opponents defence with their probing runs
while wingers Mohamed Jabbar and Sanjeeva Jayasinghe have stood out with
their powerful runs down the flank.
Namal Rajapaksa (Navy)
Bilal Hassan (Navy)
Sajith Saranga (Kandy)
Fazil Marija (Kandy)
Navy's forte have been their power-packed forwards. No 8 Bilal Hassan
has been a source of inspiration to his team-mates with his fiery loose
play and has been their match winner on many occasions. He has been ably
supported by skipper Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Danushka Perera, Kalana
Amarasinghe, Sathya Ranatunge, strongly built Sumedha Malewana and the
omnipresent Namal Rajapaksa and the Navy 'eight' should once again reign
supreme in the loose.
Possession should play a vital role in the final. The set scrums
should be shared between Navy's Namal Rajapaksa and Kandy's Anuranga
Walpola while in the line outs the Kandy trio of Dinesh Sanjeewa, Senaka
Bandara and Sajith Saranga have the edge over the Navy duo of Kalana
Amarasinghe and Sumedha Malewana.
Fly half Dev Anand is the key player in Navy's back division. His
booming kicks to touch has given his team territorial advantage while
his ability to drop goals from difficult angles and accurate
place-kicking has been a tremendous boost for Navy.
Kandy SC - Kishore Jehan, Anuranga Walpola, Kasun Yasaisuru, Senaka
Bandara (Captain), Dinesh Sanjeewa, Asitha Ratnayake, Heshan de Silva,
Sajith Saranga, Roshan Weeraratne and Fazil Marija, Mohamed Jabbar,
Pradeep Liyanage, Gayan Weeraratne, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Dinesh Kumara
or Tharindu Chanaka.
Navy SC - Piumal Manchanayake, Namal Rajapaksa, Sathya Ranatunge,
Kalana Amarasinghe, Sumedha Malewana, Danushka Perera, Yoshitha
Rajapaksa (Captain), Bilal Hassan, Suranga Pushpakumara and Dev Anand,
Chula Susantha, Kosala Tissera, Dilip Methruwan, Samantha Lakshan or
Dinusha Chathuranga, Eranda Weerakkody.