By M. Shamil Amit
A hat-trick of tries by centre Gemunu Chethiya helped St. Joseph’s College pull off a convincing 33-10 win over S. Thomas’ College in their Inter-Schools Under-19 ‘A’ Division League Rugby Tournament match played at Havelock Park yesterday.
The Josephians had things their own way while taking a comfortable 21-5 lead at half time and collected their points through four goals and a try against the two tries scored by their opponents.
The Joes also retained the Lady Jayetileke Shield for the second successive year.
The Josephians drew first blood nine minutes after the whistle through a try by winger Keshan Kavinda with fly half Santhush Algama making no mistake with the conversion.
The Thomians came back strongly through a try by number eight Lashanra de Silva but the kick at goal went astray.
Few minutes later Chethiya sprinting past the opponents to score under the post which gave Algama an easy conversion.
Shortly before the interval Chethiya went over for his second try and with Algama adding the extra points St. Joseph’s managed to build up a healthy 21-5 lead.
The Joes further increased their lead through second row forward John Ganegoda who went over for an unconverted try in the 18th minute.
The Thomians managed to decrease their deficit four minutes later from an unconverted try by prop forward Adeesha Handunpathirana.
Moments later a Josephian try was disallowed but they made amends with Chethiya going over for his third try of the match.
The conversion was made by Algama and St. Joseph’s eventually sealed the game with ease.
Referee: Rohan Fernando
PREVIEW: Joes eye flying start
By Harsha Amarasinghe
Having secured the President’s Trophy last season St. Joseph’s College will fancy their chances to clinch the Inter-School League Rugby Tournament – the most prestigious inter-school competition in Sri Lanka.
The Darley Road boys got off to the worst possible start last season losing most of their first round matches, and if they are to compete for the league title this year, the Joes would have to get themselves off to a much better start, which is why their opening game against S. Thomas’ College at Havelock Park today is such a crucial game for them.
Head Coach Nilfer Ibrahim tasted success almost immediately guiding the Josephians to their maiden title having moved to St. Joseph’s from Isipathana where he had an outstanding stint. However, the veteran coach will be desperate to claim the league title this year with what appears to be a much stronger St. Joseph’s side.
Joes will be led by center Sameesha Virangana who was an instrumental part of that knockout-winning squad. The 18-year-old is expected to play alongside Gemunu Chethiya who has been a regular figure in Sri Lanka junior sides. The centre-combination of the Joes duo looks to be the strongest in the division.
They will certainly miss the likes of Vinul Fernando, Sachith Silva and Chathura Senevirathne, but it’s time for the next generation to step up to the occasion.
Tharindu de Alwis who played as a flanker last season is set to move to the number eight position to replace Gihan Perera who has represented Havelock Sports Club in the recently concluded club season while prop forward Shevon Gregory will be one of the key players in the pack.
S. Thomas’ College on the other hand had a mediocre last season despite the presence of one the finest ever rugby players produced by Thomians - Naveen Henakankanamge.
Flanker Christian de Lile will lead the Thomians this year in a side that looks to be quite inexperienced at this level which is why senior players like Harith Senenayake must perform well.
S. Thomas’ may not have a lot of star players this season, but they should be able to cause problems to top sides, and today’s game against St. Joseph’s would an important game for them as well.
St. Joseph’s: Theeraka Santhush, Sonal Damien, Shevon Gregory, Nimesh Kavinda, Sachitntha Perera, Vihanga Perera, Shehan Kelaniyagoda, Tharindu de Alwis, Rashane Gunawaradane and Santhush Algama, Kavinda Keshan, Sameesha Virangana, Gemunu Chethiya, Shan Akila, A. Dulanjana
S. Thomas’: Adisha Hadunpathirana, Shenouk Perera, Sanjula Jayakody, Induwara Weerasinghe, Kaveen Jayasekara, Harith Senanayake, Christian de Lile, Lashandra de Silva, Sakith Perera and Shevaan Perera, M. Ishak, Mithesh Cooray, Aaron Fernandp Vishal Lochana, Sajeeva Chathuranga.
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