The Sri Lanka Air Force SC threw open the Dialog Rugby league putting on one of the greatest performances in the history of the league beating the star-studded champions Kandy SC in a tense encounter today. Kandy came to Colombo to continue their winning streak but the Airmen responded with a superb game as they went into half time leading and continued their merry way in the 2nd half to win 24-21.

Air Force SC welcomed the league champions Kandy SC for the second week game of the Dialog Club Rugby League 2016/17 at Ratmalana today (12th November).Charith Senevirathne kicked off the game for Airmen and from the start both teams made their intentions clear with a fast open brand of rugby. Kandy had more possession in the opening exchanges of the match but their handling skills cost them territory and possession.

Kanchana Ramanayake was the first culprit as he knocked on the ball and the Airmen got a centre scrum and from that scrum their No 08 Saraka Werella had the perfect break.  He sucked in more Kandy defenders and gained more than 20 meters, leaving the Kandy defense in disarray. Scrum Half Ashok Wijekumar spread the ball wide from that ruck so the Airmen could find a gap in the Kandy defense line. Ishara Madushan found the free space and he touched down for the first try of the game. Charith Senevirathne slotted through the difficult conversion which was also against wind at Ratmalana.(Air Force 07 – 00 Kandy)

Photos: Air Force SC v Kandy SC | Dialog Rugby League 2016/17 | #Match 6

Photos of the Air Force SC 24 : 21 Kandy SC – Dialog Rugby League 2016/17 – #Match 6

Kandy had ample opportunities but they couldn’t utilize them as there were a number of knock-ons during the game. Kandy somehow equalized through a try scored by Danusha Dayan which came from a set piece where Kandy formed a rolling maul and from there just worked the ball to the corner for a try. Arshard Jamaldeen added the extra points. (Air Force 07 – 07 Kandy)

This game saw more stoppages due to injuries and scrum downs as Kandy had more handling errors. Kandy No 08 Shashika Jayawardena was found to be offside when both teams were exchanging up and under kicks and Charith opted to kick the ball to touch and from there on the Airmen formed a rolling maul. Air Force Hooker Lahiru Udayanga scored from the back of the maul to put his team in the lead again; Charith had an easy conversion (Air Force 14 – 07 Kandy)

Air Force were dominant in set pieces  and counter rucking and Kandy looked to score before the half time whistle but the boys from Ratmalana ensured that they got to half time with a lead.

Half time: Air Force SC 14 – 07 Kandy SC

Kandy were caught napping in the beginning of the 2nd half when Gayantha Iddamalgoda initiated a kick and chase for which the Kandy defense had no answer. Gayantha himself kicked the ball a few times and finally Ramadas Rumesh had the last laugh when he scored the third try for his side. Charith maintained his 100% kicking form as he added the extra points (Air Force 21 – 07 Kandy)

Kandy coach Sean Wijesinghe made the most important substitution of the game, bringing in Fazil Marija and his experience which made an impact straight away as Shashika Jayawardena reduced the deficit to 7 points by scoring a much needed try. It was a team try as there were more than 15 phases of play in which Kandy took through patiently without making any mistakes. Kanchana Ramanayake added the much needed two points. (Air Force 21 – 14 Kandy)

Air Force went down to 13 men when Rumesh Wasantha and Soorya Krishan were sent to the naughty chair by referee Aruna Rankotge. Marija equalized when he destroyed the Air Force defense and scored under the post. He converted his own try (Air Force 21 – 21 Kandy)

With the game coming to its end, both teams looked for ways to score but Kandy conceded a penalty in the dying minutes and Charith was spot on with the penalty kick and he put his side into the lead. (Air Force 24 – 21 Kandy)

Full time; Air Force SC 24 – 21 Kandy SC

ThePapare Player of the Match – Ashok Wijekumar (Air Force SC)

Air Force SC
3 Tries
Lahiru Udayanga, Ramdas Rumesh 2
Charith Senevirathna – 3 Conversions, 01 Penalty

Kandy SC
3 Tries
Danusha Dayan, Shashika Jayawardena, Fazil Marija
Arshad Jamldeen, Kanchana Ramanayaka, Fazil Marija – 1 conversion