By Harsha Amarasinghe
St. Peter’s College will hold edge over S. Thomas’ College in their Inter-School League Rugby Tournament opening match at Mount Lavinia tomorrow (28).
The game is played for Archibald Perera Memorial Trophy.
With the Petes’ head coach Sanath Martis being temporarily suspended, the team from Bambalapitiya should still be in shock, but they would look to put an end to the off-field saga by getting themselves going with a victory over the Thomians.
Scrum-half Ravin Fernando is expected to make his first appearance in the league since his ankle injury which ended his season just a few weeks into the start of the previous season while captain Bilal Hilmy would be the key man for the Petes in scrums.
Teams coached by Sanath Martis have often consisted of very strong packs, but in the previous season their three quarters produced some thrilling tries. The centre combination of Sunera Fernando and Sandesh de Mel would be key to their success this season.
S. Thomas’ on the other hand have not been able to live up to the expectations since their golden year of 2016 in which they went on to be the runners up of the league tournament with wing three quarter Naveen Henakankanamage who now plays for CH and FC, taking the competition by storm.
Prop forward Adeesha Hadunpathirana was one of the standout performers for the Thomians in the previous season and he would need to be at his best to compete against the Petes who are expected to field a very strong pack.
However, the appointment of Shumly Nawaz would certainly strengthen the Thomians as he has already proved what a fine tactician he is. Nawaz was one of the main reasons behind the rise of Zahira College in the last couple of seasons and his strategies should bring the best out of the Thomians who are desperate to remain in the Cup Completion.