By Shannon Nicholas
Sri Lanka put up a tremendous performance to finish third in the Asian Sevens Rugby Series 2017 third-leg, after beating second leg champions South Korea 22 points to 05, at the Race Course Grounds in Reid Avenue on Sunday.
The Tuskers displayed sheer supremacy over the last leg’s winners, who were in disarray throughout the game.
Sri Lanka drew first blood when Richard Dharmapala sprinted off through the defense to touch down to put up the first points of the match.
Danushka Ranjan made it 12–00 as he muscled his way past four Korean defenders to cross the touch line in brilliant style. Tarinda Ratwatte added the extras with ease.
Jinkyu Lee was awarded a try at the dying seconds of the first half, which seemed to be off a forward pass, but the decision stood and the scores read 12–05 at lemons.
In-form Dharmpala gave the perfect start for the Tuskers as play was resumed when he picked up the ball off debutant Rehan de Silva and ran off to touch down under the posts.
Reeza Raffaideen put the icing on the cake as he crossed the touch line with ease, for the scores to read 22–05 when the final whistle was blown.
Meanwhile, Japan were crowned overall champions despite losing to Hong Kong in the Cup Championship final, which ended 19 points to 14. Japan were crowned champions of the first leg of the tournament and ended first runners-up in the second, which gave them enough points to secure the overall championship.
With the win, both teams would be travelling to San Francisco to take part in the World Cup.
Earlier, Sri Lanka opened their day with a comfortable 22-05 win over Malaysia in the fourth quarter-final.
The hosts dominated proceedings throughout the game although the scores were tied at 05-all at half time.
Malaysia of course took the lead through a try but Sri Lanka drew level soon when Jason Dissanayake went over the line for the touchdown.
Danushka Ranjan played a vital role in setting up Dissanayake prior to it.
Skipper Sudarshan Muthuthanthri got the lead for Sri Lanka after executing a perfect try when Danushka displayed a superb run along the throw line to make it 15-05.
Dhanush Dayan wrapped up things for the Lankans as he collected the ball from Danushka to touch down.
Kevin Dixon added the extras with ease and the final scores read 22-05.
With this win Sri Lanka were pitted against the title favourites Hong Kong in the semi-finals.
Hong Kong dominated the early stages and scored three quick tries to make it 19-00 in no time.
The Tuskers pulled one back however, when Danushka Ranjan displayed a superb run down the throw line to make it 19-5 just before half-time.
Hong Kong made it 26-05 after cleverly evading the Lankan defender which sealed the deal.
Tarinda Ratwatte set up Srinath Sooriyabandara for Sri Lanka’s second try but it was too late for a comeback as the final whistle was blown while the scores read 26-12.
Sri Lankan Women Tuskers ended up sixth in the third leg when they were beaten by Hong Kong in the Plate finals, with the final scores reading 05–12.
Cup Quarterfinal: China 12-26 Japan; Korea 17-12 Philippines; Chinese Taipei 00-50 Hong Kong; Sri Lanka 22-05 Malaysia
Plate Semifinals: China 10-26 Philippines; Chinese Taipei 00-17 Malaysia
Cup Semifinal: Japan 15-10 Korea; Hong Kong 26-12 Sri Lanka
7th/8th play-off final: China 27-07 Chinese Taipei
Plate Final: Philippines 19-17 Malaysia
3rd/4th play-off final: Korea 5-22 Sri Lanka
Cup final: Japan 14-19 Hong Kong
Cup Quarterfinal: Sri Lanka 00-12 Kazakhstan; Japan 27-00 Singapore; Korea 00-34 China; Hong Kong 07-12 Thailand
Plate Semifinals: Sri Lanka 34-05 Singapore; Korea 00-29 Hong Kong
Cup Semifinal: Kazakhstan 10-12 Japan; China 15-12 Thailand
7th/8th play-off final: Singapore 15-00 Korea; Plate Final: Sri Lanka 05-12 Hong Kong
3rd/4th play-off final: Kazakhstan 22-05 Thailand; Cup final: Japan 10-05 China
DAY ONE REPORT: SRI LANKA SET UP QF CLASH WITH MALAYSIA
The Sri Lanka Men’s Rugby Team secured their place in the Cup Championship quarter-finals while recording two magnificent victories on the opening day of the Asian Sevens Rugby Series 2017 third-leg which commenced at the Race Course Grounds in Reid Avenue on Saturday (14).
Aftergoing down fighting 21-28 against South Korea in their opening fixture, the Tuskers came back strongly to beat China 28-7 in their second game and Chinese Taipei 33-0 in their third and final group fixture.
In fact their success against China had a great amount of significance considering the fact that their previous encounter had ended in a 26-26 draw in the second-leg staged in Hong Kong earlier.
Butthis time, the home side got their act together well from the kick-off and powered their way to a rousing victory while conceding just a solitary goal to their opponents.
In fact, Sri Lanka scored twice in the first half and went on to add couple of more tries to their tally in the second half with Danushka Ranjan penetrating the Chinese defence on two occasions. Inspired with this tremendous success, Sri Lanka went on to add the finishing touches in style with another convincing 33-0 victory over Chinese Taipei which ensured their place in the quarter-finals.
The Lankans of course dominated this game from the kick-off and displayed their prowess in both attack and defence while collecting their points from four goals and one try. Earlier, Sri Lanka went down 21-28 against the formidable South Korean outfit in their opening encounter despite a superb second half rally.
Sri Lanka were trailing 7-21 at half time and were heading towards a morale shattering defeat before they recovered magnificently to reduce the margin to just a solitary goal in the end. South Korea collected their points from four goals while Sri Lanka responded with three goals.
PREVIEW: New look Sri Lanka in prestige battle
By Ranil Prematilake
A new look Sri Lankan Seven’s outfit will take to field on home terrain today, in what is expected to be another intriguing mission in the third round of the Asian Sevens Series – 2017 at the Race Course International Stadium in Colombo.
Six of the players who featured in the first two rounds have not made it to the squad, this time round. Only Naveen Henakankanamage (with a hamstring injury and a pulled muscle) and Buddhima Piyaratne miss out due to injury. The likes of Chanaka Chandimal, Samith Dananjaya, Kevin Dixon and Hirantha Perera have been overlooked for this version.
However, Dixon was added to the squad after Sudam Sooriyarachchi failed a fitness test for a finger injury late on the eve of the tournament.
Sri Lanka is slotted in Pool ‘A’ alongside South Korea (Cup winners in Namdong), China and Chinese Taipei. Currently, Sri Lanka occupy the fifth position in the overall standings (10 points) and are in with a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, provided the host nation reach the Cup Final.
Japan is right on top with 22 points with South Korea on 20, Hong Kong on 18 and China in fourth place with 14 points.
The selectors have opted to move Tarinda Ratwatte into the fly half’s berth with powerful Danushka Ranjan and Richard Dharmapala as centre options. “We need a bit more pace in the middle and that is reason why Tarinda is moved up” said the chief national selector Michael Jayasekera.
“Our focus is to get at least a third place finish” added the former national player, who is amongst an elite and select set of individuals that Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) would be felicitating during the two-day sevens rugby spectacle.
Led by Sudharshana Muthuthanthri, the Sri Lankans will take on South Korea at 11.14 a.m. in
their first outing. The second game against China is scheduled for 2.32 p.m. and the last round
robin game against Chinese Taipei kicks off at 5.28 p.m.