By Harsha Amarasinghe
Air Force Sports Club are facing a major injury crisis ahead of their Dialog Rugby League clash against red-hot Police Sports Club at Ratmalana tomorrow (10).
Fly-half Gayantha Iddamalgoda, who is arguably their best player, along with first team captain Ranuke Medagedara have been ruled out of the Police game with injuries.
Iddamalgoda is set to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks having suffered a hamstring injury while Medagedara will miss tomorrow’s clash with a back injury according to the Air Force management.
Muditha Kasun will replace senior campaigner Parakrama Ratnayake who has been banned for one game following his red card against Navy Sports Club. The front rower was sent off by referee Akhil Jamaldeen for an apparent punch which has been confirmed by the citing officers who gave him a one-game ban.
Sashika Fernando and Thimira Amanda will form a young second row while former Isipathana Flanker Ravindu Anjula who received a call-up for the national 7s side will join Gimhan Silva and ex-CH Number Eight Imesh Aponso in the third row.
In the absence of Iddamalgoda Amith Silva will be brought into the starting XV at Fly-half while Niroshan Rajanayaka will replace the injured Medagedara.
Police Sports Club is set to hand second row Adisa Handunpathirana his first start of the season having impressed coming off the bench in the last couple of games. The former S. Thomas’ College forward is set to replace Nisal Samadhi who has been ruled out for at least three weeks with a fractured ankle, and will join Mohan Wimalarathne in the second row.
Fly-half Janith Chandimal who has been able to make a big impact in the latter part of the games coming on as a second half substitute is also set to miss the remainder of the first round with a knee injury.
Police Head Coach Asanka Rodrigo however has not made any changes to his backline that has been ripping teams apart this season.
Air Force XV: Niroshan Rajanayake, Muditha Kasun, Nuwan Rajakaruna, Sashika Fernando, Thimira Amanda, Gimhan Silva, Anjula Hettiarachchi, Imesh Aponso, Nuwan Perera and Amitha Silva, Rukshan Madushanka, Jehan Seelagama, Amith Ramsan, Ishara Madushanka, Faris Ali
Police XV: Lahiru Pavithra, Rasith Silva, Dhanushka Edirisooriya, Mohan Wimalarathna, Udara Sooriyapperuma, Vageesha Weerasinghe, Udaya Sanjula, Primesh Dhanushka and Nalin Kumara, Janith Chanaka, Emosi Vunivosa, Iroshan Silva, Sachith Silva, Suranga Kasun