Sri Lanka took on Hong Kong in their second game at the Asia Rugby U19 Championship 2018. It was a one sided affair right from the start as the defending champions secured an easy win after leading 22 – 10 at half-time and doubling it by the end of the 70 minutes, outplaying a hapless Sri Lanka outfit to win 48 – 15.
Sri Lanka was off to a shaky start when Ifham Fareed knocked the ball on from the kick off, allowing Hong Kong to be on the attack early on. Dominating that first scrum, arch rivals, Hong Kong, scored their first try 4 minutes into the game – after working the line and showing the power of the forwards from 5 meters away. The Junior Tuskers’ however, found themselves inside the opposition ’22 and made sure they went back with points on board after scrum-half Mubeen Faleel converted a penalty to points in the 8th minute. (SL 3 – 5 HK)
There on, Hong Kong unleashed their true potential, and it was raining tries for the boys in red. Although Sri Lanka dominated in the lineouts and managed to steal two of them in the first half, Hong Kong knew exactly how to win the ball back and counter the Sri Lankan defence.
It was evident that the Sri Lankan forwards were no match for the physically bigger opponents, who had scored three tries through driving mauls and also a three pointer at lemons. However, Skipper Gemunu Chethiya, sparked some hope for Sri Lanka after touching down in the 22nd minute after slicing through the Hong Kong centre channel from 10 meters away. Faleel added the extras.
Half-time: SL trailed 10 – 22 HK
The 2nd half got under way as Hong Kong picked up from where they left. The forwards scored three tries in quick succession using the same tactic that they did in the 1st half – find out, set up a maul and drive over. It was that simple. (SL 10 – 41 HK)
Sri Lanka couldn’t do much as the opposition just kept coming at them. Their playmaker at the fly-half position, Paul Altair scored a fabulous back’s try, after sprinting down the touchline and ending up under the posts. As time was running out, Sri Lanka gave their everything and managed to get inside the Hong Kong red zone. After a few failed carries by the forwards, Kalindu Nandila made a desperate run and cut through a gap in the defence from 5 meters away scoring the final try of the game.
Full Time: SL lost 15 – 48 HK
Score Breakdown SL:
- Tries – Gamunu Chethiya, Kalindu Nandila
- Conversions: Mubeen Faleel
- Penalties: Mubeen Faleel
What Sri Lanka did wrong?
From supporting the ball carrier to making the right decisions, nothing went Sri Lanka’s way! In comparison to the way the Hong Kong forwards latched on in support, Sri Lanka looked far behind – many a times the ball carrier was isolated or support arrived late.
Another major reason for the loss was the decisions the boys took. Why play a quick penalty inside our own red zone when there’s plenty of time to go? Why make the 40/60 offloads? Why kick possession away after starving for it for over 10 minutes?
Overall it was a rather lackluster performance by the Junior Tuskers, as they’re set to face Korea next Tuesday.