St. Joseph’s College put on a five-star, five try performance to convincingly beat St. Anthony’s College 38-05 up at Nittawela to kick off week two of the Schools’ Rugby League.
The home team made four optimistic changes while the Josephians made two changes from last week, with Shevon Gregory and Teran Karunanayake dropping to the bench, being replaced by Pasindu Dilshan and Aaron Perera at prop and fullback respectively.
Both teams found it tough to pierce each other’s defenses in the opening quarter hour on a humid and sunny evening at the home of the Dialog Rugby League Champions, Nittawela.
It took the visitors 15-minutes to settle into the higher altitude as they brought out their trademark rolling maul as the home defense was helpless in stopping the Josephians.
Nehan Perera was the beneficiary as the flanker found himself at the tail of the maul to crash over for the first try of the evening. Santhush Algama made no mistake from the touch line to make it a perfect 7. (SACK 00-07 SJC)
The home team was constantly under pressure as the visitors continued to keep their foot on the gas throughout the first half.
Santhush Algama found his kicking range early on as the Antonian defense was caught offside due the pressure applied by the visitors. (SACK 00-10 SJC)
The lads from Maradana were relentless in tightening their hold on the game, giving their opposition no opportunity to get out of jail.
Rashane Gunawardena was the next to get on the scoresheet for the Josephians as the nippy halfback snuck through the tiniest of gaps following a scrum to extend the lead further.
Algama made no mistake, adding the extras to consolidate the Josephian lead. (SACK 00-17 SJC)
Having fallen far behind, the home team tried to mount a comeback, but failed with all attempts as their handling and unforced errors mounted with the first half drawing to a close.
Half time: St. Anthony’s College 00 trail St. Joseph’s College 17 (2T 2C 1P)
Things went from bad to worse for the Antonians in the 2nd half as they leaked three further tries, managing just a solitary score.
Sudaraka Devapriya was the next to cross the white wash for St Joseph’s as the winger beat three on-rushing defenders to dive over in the corner, following some slick build up play.
Moments later Rashane Gunawardena scored his second of the evening, in similar fashion to his first, sneaking through the slightest of gaps for a second time to record a double on the evening.
Santhush Algama made no mistake with either kick as he kept his 100% kicking success in tact, securing the bonus point for the visitors. (SACK 00-31 SJC)
Having put a cushion between the two teams, and leading comfortably, the Josephians switched off after losing try scorer Nehan Perera to the bin.
St. Anthony’s capitalized, taking a quick tap to score their first try through Bawantha Darmapala, however, the score remained on 5 as Thirusha Ekanayake failed to add the extras from the 15-meter line. (SACK 05-31 SJC)
Having secured the win, the visitors were gifted one last chance to attack following a handling error as the hosts looked to run from their own half.
Gershorm Thangaiah found himself five meters out, wriggling his way through would be tacklers to score the fifth and final try of the game.
Aaron Perera added the extras to made it a perfect 5 converted tries on the evening.
The Josephians returned to their full complement as the game drew to a close, handing the home side their second loss and the visitors their second victory of the season.
Full time: St. Anthony’s College 5 (1T) lost to St. Joseph’s College 38 (5T 5C 1P)
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Santhush Algama
St. Anthony’s College: Bawantha Darmapala 1T
St. Joseph’s College: Nehan Perera 1T, Rashane Gunawardena 2T, Sudaraka Devapriya 1T, Gershorm Thangaiah 1T, Santhush Algama 4C 1P, Aaron Perera 1C