By Harsha Amarasinghe
Former St. Anthony’s College Skipper Dinuk Amarasinghe is set to make his club debut for Havelocks Sports Club this Saturday (4) when they take on the Police Sports Club while veteran fly-half Niroshan Fernando is expected to miss the opening game with a groin injury.
Amarasinghe had a stunning Inter-Schools season for the Eagles scoring important tries ever since his transformation to centre from third row, and as a result he was able to represent Sri Lanka junior side.
Meanwhile, the Havies will be without their number eight Sudharshana Muthuthanthri for the first half of the season as the Sri Lanka Skipper continues his rugby training programme in New Zealand, but the Park Club has recruited one of country’s best full-backs in the shape of Riza Mubarak ahead of the season.
With Fernando being unavailable for Saturday, Dulaj Perera looks certain to play at fly half while new signing Mubarak expects to start at full-back moving Kevin Dixon to wing three quarter.
Gihan Perera, the former Joes number eight is one of the players who has impressed Head Coach Sanath Martis, but Lasindu Ishan is likely to start in that position on Saturday.
“I am really impressed with the hard work put in by Gihan (Perera) in training and of course he would be in the squad for opening match,” Martis told the Daily Mirror.
Having led Royal for the League and Bradby Shield victories Martis signed off on a high note at the end of last Inter-Schools season. The veteran coach believes that Havies could challenge for the title this season.
“We have got a good squad – not a lot of changes which is good. I have faith in these players and if they could execute our plans in matches, of course there is a chance. We have to take one game at a time and see what we could achieve,” added Martis who clinched three Inter-Schools league titles with St. Peter’s College.
Prop forward Ashan Darling was one of the most instrumental players for Havies last season having started almost all the matches, but losing him to defending champions Kandy SC was a blow for the Park Club.
“We have only lost few players, but we have brought in some players, and I am confident they could deliver the results at this level,” Martis stated.
The Havies will play all their home fixtures under light although Martis claims it will not have a huge influence in the outcome of the results.
“I don’t think it will have a big impact on the results. These days most teams are used to playing under lights, so I don’t think it will give us any extra advantage,” said Martis.