The one time box office clash is set to kick off yet again when the defending champions Kandy travel to Colombo to take on CR&FC. Navy will host Police in what will be another grueling contest at Welisara whilst Army plan to destroy Havelocks’ winning formula. Air Force on the other hand will hope to taste their first win of the season over the underdogs CH&FC.
CR&FC v Kandy 18.12.2015 KO: 4.00 pm @Race Course
Firstly the Reds must be disappointed that they are not playing at Longdon Place. But the good news is that hooker Lahiru Pavithra will back in the squad after serving a two match ban over a stamping in week 2 against Havelocks. Marija’s men had a bad experience at this venue last year when they lost to Army SC, but looking at Kandy’s current form, the away games will not be a factor.
The Kandy forwards are in fine form as they have produced some magic in ball handling, off loads and pace. Kishore Jehan, Piyumal Manchanayake, Heshan Kalhara, Sashika Jayawardena are all among the try scorer’s list. No 8 Buwaneka Udangamuwa who is solid as a rock has received two consecutive yellow cards and his discipline will be tested. Arshad Jamaldeen starting at 10 was a little inconsistent with his boots last week but he is the highest points scorer thus far in the league. Gayan Weerarathne and Captain Fazil Marija’s center combination is exquisite. Marija has scored pretty much every game against CR and the Reds certainly know it and must find a way to stop him running.
CR might think of moving Rochana Hettiarachi, Kavindu Perera or Ashan De Costa to partner Kanchana Ramanayaka in the center. Half back Kavindu Costa needs to release a lot of quick balls and he needs to manage well at the start of the game. CR captain Ishan Noor, flanker Jason Dissanayaka and Sasanka Ariyarathne will have to put in a 110% work rate especially with their first up tackles and turnovers.
Players to watch out for – Fazil Marija (Kandy SC) / Kanchana Ramanayaka (CR&FC)
Score predictions: Kandy to win by 10
CH&FC v Air Force 18.12.2015 KO: 4.00 pm @Air Force Ground
Air Force will be itching to get their first win of the season as CH play their home game in an away venue. Nuwan Perera the Air Force full back has been outstanding in the season but his individual points are not enough to win this game as he needs his team’s support a lot more than what they have produced so far. CH&FC has conceded 254 points in 4 games with an average of 63.5 a match. But this Friday the Maitland Crescent team will perhaps get some chances to make an impact on this league.
Players to watch out for: Gayantha Iddamalgoda (AF) / Mohamed Rifkhan (CH)
Score predictions: Airmen to win by 20
Navy v Police 20.12.2015 KO: 4.00 pm @Welisara
Although the Sailors have lost 2 games out of 4 they managed to get a losing bonus point. This will decide the standings in the middle and end of the second round. 11 tries last week against CH would have given some confidence to Dhanushka ‘Gertha’ Perera’s men. Navy’s strength is their experienced forwards Sajith Saranga, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Anuranga Walpola, Sathya Ranathunga and the captain Gertha. Although Police has the capability to match the opposition with the likes of Henry Terrance, Achala Perera, and the current top try scorer Bilal Hassen; all three of them are no strangers to the Welisara grounds as they played for the Sailors last season. But the Cops are still not composed enough to play as a team among the forwards.
It will be interesting to see where Mohamed Abzal will start for Police. He made some good yards last week as a scrum half then moved into the wing in the second half. Also it will be interesting to see whether Mohamed Sheriff will play at fly half or start in the wing or on the bench? Mushin Faleel has been the ‘great wall of China’ for the Police defense but Police needs more fire from Chula Susantha and Rizah Mubarak. On the other hand, the Navy backs are also gelling well specially with Chanaka Chandimal fitting in at outside half. Lee Keegal might pair up with the winger Dinusha Chathuranga in the center.
Players to watch out for: Bilal Hassen (Police) / Sajith Saranga (Navy)
Score Predictions: Navy win by 5
Army v Havelocks 20.12.2015 KO: 4.00 pm Air Force Grounds
Soldiers were in for a reality check last week against Kandy, certainly they would have learnt a thing or two about building consistency with their performances especially after winning the one point thriller against Navy. Captain Asoka Jayalal has marshaled his troops well; Gayan Salinda and the Ariyapala brothers have been outstanding. This Sunday will be another quest for the Soldiers who look like they can spoil the Havelocks winning run. Due to the unavailability of Army grounds this game has been changed to the Air Force Grounds
Havies ace player Dhanushka Ranjan might miss this week due to a knee injury he sustained last week. Injuries have been a real nuisance for the Park Club with Rehan Theyagarajah, Niroshan Perera, and Captain Sandun Herath being injured but they are expected to play this week. For Havelocks front row forwards Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Liston Flatney and Prasath Madusankha have been superb while Rahul De Silva has showed maturity and Rimzie Jamaldeen coming into form is another plus point for the men in pink.
Players to watch out for: Sudarshana Muthuthantri (Havelocks) / Manoj Silva (Army)
Score Predictions: Havelocks to win by 6