Sri Lanka face strong challenge from Thailand
Sri Lanka which launched their campaign for the HSBC Asian Five
Nations Rugby Title with a smashing 39-8 win over Chinese Taipei on
Sunday will face a fierce challenge from Thailand in their match at
Havelock Park at 4 pm today.
The Thais are in a buoyant mood after their sensational 33-10 win
over the more fancied Kazakhstan and should give a close run to the
Sri Lanka skipper Yoshitha Rajapaksa.
Pictures by Ruwan de Silva
skipper Chatree Wannadit
Sri Lankan forwards played a key role in their success over Chinese
Taipei. Skipper Yoshitha Rajapaksa was a source of inspiration to his
team-mates with his fiery loose play and was ably supported by Henry
Terrence, Shenal Dias, Dinesh Sanjeewa, Namal Rajapaksa and the
omnipresent Sajith Saranga as the Lanka ‘eight’ reigned supreme in the
But today they are likely to be given a torrid time by their Thai
counterparts who came up with a gallant display to outplay the much
bigger and heavier Kazakhstan forwards. Skipper Chatri Wannadit, Ponpat
Mekpat, Sumet Thammaporn, Suparat Konghawee, Marc Dimitrov and Richard
Perkins should come up with another sterling display for Thailand.
Possession should play a vital role in the final outcome. In the line
outs the Lankan trio of Sanjeewa, Dias and Saranga have the edge over
the Thai duo of Konghawee and Dimitrov while the set scrums should be
shared between Sri Lanka’s Namal Rajapaksa and Thailand’s Nontanant
But the Lankans boast of a superior back division. Fly half Fazil
Marija’s individual brilliance was on display on Sunday when he scored
two brilliant tries but the two centres Pradeep Liyanage and Gayan
Weeraratne failed to impress either spilling passes or being tackled in
possession which resulted in Lanka’s inability to cross the Chinese
Taipei goal line in the first half.
They should send out the ball to the wings where Sri Lanka has two
speedy wingers in Sandun Herath and Chamara Dabare who should test the
Thai defence to the hilt with their daring runs.
The Thais as they did against Kazakhstan will strive to nullify this
advantage with bone-crunching tackles to cripple Lanka’s three quarter
Kazakhstan will confront Chinese Taipei in the first match at 2 pm
Sri Lanka – Henry Terrence, Namal Rajapaksa, Kishore Jehan, Dinesh
Sanjeewa, Shenal Dias, Yoshitha Rajapaksa (Captain), Sharo Fernando,
Sajith Saranga, Roshan Weeraratne and Fazil Marija, Chamara Dabare,
Gayan Weeraratne, Pradeep Liyanage, Sandun Herath, Reza Mubarak.
Reserves – Sathya Ranatunga, Anuranga Walpola, Sumedha Malewana,
Sayuru Anthony, Rohan Weerakoon, Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Mohamed
Thailand – Chatchai Akkhanimart, Nontanent Jayasevi, Pongpat Mekpat,
Marc Dimitrov, Suparat Kongtawee, Sumet Thammaporn, Richard Perkins,
Chatree Wannadit (Captain), Punyawee Jiworawattnakul and Klin
Laksanasompong, Pichit Yingaharoen, Sirichai Daothaisong, Kitti
Wangkanai, Topong Boonlon, Warangkorn Khamkoet.
Reserves – Banluesup, Robert James, Klongriutoh, Prompataya,
Hongsayaporn, Sophawachirarit, Ratchatanantakit.