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Rugby 7s: Two wins and a loss; marauding Muthuthanthri’s men impressed

Rugby 7s: Two wins and a loss; marauding Muthuthanthri’s men impressed

By Aubrey Kuruppu

Asian Rugby Sevens Series
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Richard Dharmapala, splashing through the muddy waters, touched down to score his third try against China - Pic by Amila Gamage

Two wins and a loss in the opening rounds may sound a little bit routine. Yet, the facts of the case need consideration for the Lankans in their Asian Rugby Sevens Series games at the Racecourse, yesterday.

After the initial loss to Korea, Sri Lanka had to conjure up a 28-7 win against China, come hell or high-water. That they achieved this by a margin of 21 points speaks volumes of the eye-catching, outstanding rugby they put on show. Later on, the Tuskers went on to record a smashing 33-0 win against the struggling Chinese Taipei.

Yesterday’s performance, in which Sri Lanka ended up second in Group ‘A’, next to Korea, put them in the quarter-final stage of the Cup Championship. Sri Lanka will meet Malaysia today at 12.30pm after the first three qualifiers. Action will kick off today at 11.25am with the game between China and Japan, followed by the games of Korea vs Philipines and Chinese Taipei vs Hong Kong.

Against China, Jason Dissanayake set the ball rolling by breaking out from his 22-metre area. The ball was slipped out, sent down the line and it was Dhanushka Ranjan who touched down on the other flank. Minutes later, Ranjan pounced on the ball and set off on a near 60 yard run along the left touch-line to go over for his second try.

But these were just the appetizers. Richard Dharmapala, who was a dominating force in local rugby, showed his mettle to seal Sri Lanka’s third try. He leapt in the air, made a clean catch of an attempted clearance and broke through the defence to score. It all happened in the blink of an eye.

China tried to fight back and was able to reduce the deficit through a goal. That only served to goad the local team to add another try. This time it was through Reza Reffaideen. All the tries were converted by Tarinda Ratwatte.

A 28-21 loss to the winners of the second leg, Korea, is a tad disappointing. The Koreans retained possession and kept the try-hungry Sri Lankans at bay. They led 21-7 at one stage. This was when Muthutantri’s lads came surging back. Jason Dissanaike went over first, and he was followed by Srinath Sooriyabandara. Inevitably, Ranjan got among the try-scorers by outpacing the Koreans before going over. 21 all and the Sri Lankans were in with a sniff. But Korean power and thrust won the day, as they added three vital seven points to stay afloat.

The third round game against Chinese Taipei was a cake walk for the hosts. They  scored off five tries and four conversions. Dharmapala and Ratwatte touched down twice, while Dhanushka Ranjan braced a try.

The Sri Lankan lasses were not that successful. Yet, though beaten by both Japan (7-17) and Hong Kong (5-10), their spunk and spirit stood out. Smaller than their opponents, but faster and the ground, the Sri Lankans kept the crowd terribly involved.

Kazakhstan look a certain finalist, if not a winner. Their lasses were big and they had speed to boot.

The men from Hong Kong were given a good searching over by the unfancied Philippines. Hong Kong, who are one of the favourites, finally prevailed 21-17.

The match between the two Chinas – China and Chinese Taipei was a lack-luster affair which the former pulled off 20-7.

Even though the Philippines gave Hong Kong a searching examination, they were unable to repeat it against Japan who were largely untroubled in winning 29-5.

RESULTS

Group A: Korea beat Sri Lanka 28-21; China beat Chinese Taipei 20-7; Korea beat Chinese Taipei 19-7; Sri Lanka beat China 28-7; Korea beat China 12-10; Sri Lanka beat Chinese Taipei 33-0.

Group B: Japan beat Malaysia 28-7; Hong Kong beat Philippines 21-17; Japan beat Philippines 29-5; Hong Kong beat Malaysia 34-5; Malaysia beat Phillipines 19-17; Hong Kong beat Japan 19-7.

Women: Japan beat Philippines 29-5; Hong Kong beat Korea 38-0; China beat Thailand 28-14; Kazakhstan beat Singapore 36-0; Japan beat Korea 43-0; Hong Kong beat Sri Lanka 10-5; China beat Singapore 24-0; Kazakhstan beat Thailand 27-5.

Posted on 2017-10-15 15:46:51
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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