By Harsha Amarasinghe
Kandy Sports Club has given prop Ashan Darling a rare start ahead of their Inter-Club clash against Army Sports Club at Welisara tomorrow (08).
The former Isipathana starlet struggled for game time with Ganuka Dissanayake and Lasitha Attanagoda starting most of the Kandy games in front row, but both the first choice props have been rested as a part of rotating players. Darling will be joined in the front row by Charles Praveen alongside hooker Damith Dissanayake who has rediscovered his form this season.
Flanker Shehan Pathirana who was even utilized as number eight in the absence of Buwaneka Udangama in certain games, has now been pushed into the second row to form a partnership with youngster Mohamed Shabhir as Suhiru Anthony and Thilina Bandara have been rested.
Jason Dissanayake, Tharindu Chathuranga and Buwaneka Udangamuwa have retained their places in the third row after their fine performances against CH & FC last week.
First choice scrum-half Roshan Weeraratne will form a half-back partnership with Srinath Sooriyabandara who has been given a new role at fly-half in the absence of first team captain Nigel Ratwatte.
Head coach Fazil Marija has not made any changes to the rest of the backline with Buddhima Piyarathne, Tharinda Ratwatte, Lavanga Perera, Kavindu Perera and Danush Dayan all set to start against Army.
Army management revealed that they are expected to field the same team that defeated Air Force last week, but full back Sachin Gamage who made an appearance off the bench last week has been given a one match ban by Sri Lanka Rugby’s citing official for an infringement he committed in the last match.
Although Kandy are firm favourites to earn a bonus-point win against Army, the reigning champions must keep a close eye on the Fijian centre Tomasi Caqusau who could cause real problems to any top division side.
Army XV (probable): Ranjan Jayaratne, Aravinda Karunaratne, Shehan Silva, Nalaka Maduranga, Nalan Premanath, Manoj Wickramaarachchi, Upul Abeyratne, Chameera Silva, Chamath Fernando and Ashan Bandara, Sudaraka Dikkumbura, Tomasi Caqusau, Thusitha Senanayake, Dhanushka Thalwatte, Isuru Medagedara.
Kandy XV: Ashan Darling, Damith Dissanayake, Charles Praveen, Shehan Pathirana, Mohamed Shabhir, Tharindu Chathuranga, Jason Dissanayake, Buwaneka Udangamuwa, Roshan Weeraratne and Srinath Sooriyabandara, Buddhima Piyarathne, Tarinda Ratwatte, Lavanga Perera, Kavindu Perera, Danush Dayan.