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Saturday, 17 September 2011






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Kandy SC go out with confidence today

Navy Sports Club seem to have an endless capacity to surprise. However, they will face their stiffest hurdle yet in their quest to bag the title for the first time, when they confront Kandy Sports Club the defending champions in the final of the Clifford Cup today, at the Royal College Complex.

This game will be for the second successive year, see these two teams meeting in the final, and for the third time this season for a decider. In the league.

The game played at Nittawela went in favour of Kandy Sports Club, and on the return at Welisara it went in favour of the Sailors.

The 2010 Clifford cup final played at the Bogambara Stadium with a full house of spectators seen in Club games, saw Kandy S.C. beat Navy SC is one of the best games played at a final. Although Kandy Sports Club are firm favourites to retain the trophy this year, the Sailors have the potential to rise to the occasion in this game.

So, the clash at Royal College Complex this evening is certain to draw a very large crowd of rugby fans, in expectation of a grim yet attractive battle for supremacy.

Both teams play fast open rugby, with the forwards and backs coordinating together in all phases of the game will be a beauty to watch on the field. Navy SC who defeated Havelock SC in the semi-final at this same venue, will be considered as favourites, particularly as they have the advantage of the weather and familiar to the ground conditions.

But Kandy SC have given many an excellent display this season despite many an obstacle, they need to settle down early in the game to make a very strong bid for the Cup once again, and take it back to the hill capital silverware cabinet for yet another year.

There is not much to choose between these two leading teams. In this game Kandy SC go out firm favourites with confidence and knowledge than in the last Cup final, another advantage they possess is that they have won the cup for 16 times in 19 years.

Reports have it that the Sailors under the watchful eyes of Ronnie Ibrahim will not spare pain or effort to win this game. After all, they have nothing to lose, but to win this prestigious Trophy for the first time in the history of rugby in Sri Lanka, in particular under the leadership of Yoshitha Rajapaksa.

They have been training with their only target being victory, and the excitement is just going to be same. Kandy SC on the other hand made several appeals to the SLRFU to play the game in Kandy as it was a decision made by the Rugby Union way back in 1992 to have one Trophy Game played in the Outstations towards the development of rugby Islandwide, but their appeal was turned down despite the several attempts made.

Anyway KSC are determined and confident that wherever they play they are bound to retain the Cup once again.

Kandy SC rugby coach Johan Taylor caught in the grip of the pre-match fever said that they will be playing a winning team, and his side should have no difficulty in overcoming the Sailors whom they beat in the first round of the league.

Therefore, the pre-match fever and the mood is one of being hopeful towards victory, the Chairman Rugby of Kandy SC Lasantha Wijasuriya, who gives the team the fullest backing says that they will be at full strength and the boys will deliver.

On the other hand the sailors who are under the watchful eyes of Ronnie Ibrahim, too are capable of turning a new leaf with their enthusiasm and will to win by defeating the defending champions. They talk high of their fly half Dev Anand, who is currently the highly rated Navy SC player. Kandy SC fly half Fazil Marija is the cousin of Dev Anand, who says they will win this game at any cost.

In fact most think that Nittawela club's halves combination of Roshan Weerathne and Fazil Marija have proved superior to that of much vaunted Navy S.C's Suranga Pushpakumara and Dev Anand.

But they will have to face Sajith Saranga, Kandy's burly and speedy No. 8. Those who watched the games of Kandy SC should know how Saranga masterminds their moves.

Kandy SC pack is more mobile and faster in the loose, as against the Sailors who too have a good set of forwards that can compete in the same manner.

Both teams are evenly balanced, and a good clean game of rugby will be on the cards.

The match winning halves combination of Roshan Weerathne and Fazil Marija are in tremendous form at the moment and the Navy back division should see plenty of the ball coming their way with Yositha Rajapaksa leading the pack with his experience and the unity of the team at large.

Kandy S.C. forwards have the weight, speed and coordination as a team to chalk victory.


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