Navy’s try fest pulverizes Sharks, Army revenge CR and Havelock’s first win without a bonus point.
CR 18 – 21 Army
A crunch game for both teams, but an over-ambitious decision dented the optimism as CR lost the game in the last five minutes. Both teams met in the first round where Army led 15- 03 into the half time, but a robust second half performance by CR earned them an empathetic comeback closed at 15 – 21. However, Army took the sweetest revenge to avenge the last defeat and now they have stolen the 4th place in the table.
A draw is much better than losing bonus point; the score was 18 – 21 with 5 minutes for the final whistle CR had a penalty which is kickable for Nalin Kumara but skipper Costa had a decision to make – Stick or twist? Red or black? Kick or corner? He went for the touch instead of the three points and the message was clear that the hosts wanted the second win over the Soldiers. It did not go according to Costa’s wish as they lost the ball position in the opposite 22m. Perhaps CR should have taken the 3 points played the rest of the 3 minutes in a positive manner.
However, Army was on song, they were a bit sloppy in early defense but quickly adjusted to the conditions. Gayan Salinda played a gem of a game with his kicks and high ball collection under pressure. Also Sashan Mohamed making some instant decisions which led the Soldier’s to gear up the attacking threat.
Pio Tuwai coming in the second half made some errors trying to dip the ball past the defensive line and chase like in the 7’s format. It did not take him long to realize his mistakes and thereafter his running ploy sucked-in almost 3 defenders allowing options out wide for Army off his offloads. Scrum half Rahul De Zilva had a good time providing quick balls to Costa in the breakdown and set pieces. He showed he could punch some good box kicks with height and distance which was not apparent from the replacement Dilan De Zoysa. Perhaps coach Imthi Marikkar should have allowed Rahul 10 more minutes. On the other hand Reds play- maker Robbie Malneek who did all the work against Army in the first round seemed to come on a bit too late this time around.
Talking Points : losing bonus point or a draw ? – Gayan Salinda’s catching & kicking – Replacement on Rahul too early and Malneek too late?
Havelocks 21 v 07 Police
It was a lackluster performance by both the teams. Police after smashing CR gave the impression of giant killers but it has not gone well for the coach Douglas Bursill’s Cops in the last few weeks. Apisai Nagaliva who had a horrendous time against Army could not make much of an impact yet again. He played at full back for 60minutes of the game. Probably he should stick at No 12/13 and that is the best combination with Samanth Lakshan at fly half. This was perhaps due to the inclusion of Eranga Weerakkody who played in center, not his usual position either.
Early on Apisai had a good chance of scoring after the Police attacked in the opposite 22m. Apisai could not hold on to the dummy ball from Lakshan as he knocked-on where no man could catch him.
This is the first game that the Havies were unable to get a bonus point. On the other hand a different attacking pattern was seen used by Dulaj Perera feeding one pass out and the next inside. Despite the Havies win it was a quiet 80 minutes of play. Scrappy scrums and handling errors still a worry for the men in pink. Danushka Ranjan, Sandun Herath and Mithun Hapugoda made some great yards and also extraordinary defense. Sudarshana Muthuthantri was seen marshaling the troops really well and made a few more of his well-known tackles.
Overall it was awful refereeing of the game as he did not allow the advantage to play-on and too much stoppage brought down the intensity of the match which the fans did not take kindly, showing their impatience by booing the referee.
Talking Points : Havelocks missed the bonus point – Dulaj Perera’s consistency – Under pressure Apisai
Navy 125 – 07 Sharks
It was complete dominance by Navy at Welisara, raining tries and annihilating the Sharks; 19 tries distributed among 15 players as everyone made hay. Rizah Mubarak scored his 100 points in the league on his 8th conversion and had 15 successful conversions with a percentage of 78.9% on the day.
Chanaka Chandimal played an unselfish game as he distributed the ball nicely to his forwards and three quarters. Three quarters made decoy runs which perplexed the Sharks. First three tries however, came from the forwards as they once again used their forward’s strength despite resting the big three Sharo Fernando, Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Danushka Perera. Hooker Dulanjana Wijesinghe scored the first two tries from the lineout drive and Terence Henry power-over for the third. Thereon, it became a feast as every players including the replacement Bilal Hassan and Richi Darmapala grabbed tries.
Rizah Mubarak enjoyed a relaxed day at work getting to do what he does best; kicking at goals, as his mates had a field day running all over the place.
Wagawulagi Emori tried everything for the visitors but it’s a team game and an individual performance is never enough. Sharks are now in big trouble mentally after a three figure score, as they face a much improved Air Force this Friday.
This weekend Navy will take on Army and another Rajapakse battle is envisages at Welisara.
Talking Points : Navy’s first 100 points – Rizah’s 100 points – Sharks need desperate solutions