Sri Lanka Rugby: The Debutant Tuskers

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The Sri Lanka men’s rugby team are all set to travel to Malaysia for the Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) Division I tournament 2016 which will be held from the 8th – the 14th of May. Of the 25 man squad, 9 players will be making their maiden trip with the Tuskers for the tournament. Here’s a look at the debutants on tour.

 Photo Album – Tuskers last training before ARC 2016 

Prasath Madusankha

Havelock’s hooker had his career best season in the concluded Dialog Rugby League 2015/16. He scored 12 tries which was the highest this season including 4 tries in the second round clash against CR&FC. The former Isipathana player showed some excellent skills and mobility during the tournament. Although his lineout throws were not as consistent as he would have liked, he certainly deserved a place alongside the experienced Achala Perera in the team as a hooker. He may even be the fastest running hooker in the Division I category.

Prasath Madusanka

Janik Jayasuriya

Janik Jayasuriya

The former Thomian Jayasuriya played for the Sri Lanka under 20 team way back in 2009 and had since given up rugby until 2014 due to his studies. He made a ’U turn’ in the 2014/15 season returning to rugby by captaining the Hambanthota Sharks team. After the Sharks were left out of the league he made a good comeback in the pink shirt at the Park Club. He scored two tries and as the second round progressed he really fine-tuned his playing style. Jayasuriya usually plays as a prop but he was often in the lock position during the season. With Coach Taylor looking for utility options, he stands a good chance of getting some valuable minutes on the field.

Rahul De Silva

De Silva just missed out on last year’s tour to the Philippines. He has focused a lot on the XV’s format and had a few impressive games this season. The former Wesley skipper who won the President’s Cup in 2013 for the double blues is a very good game manager. The left footer had improved his box kicking ability and perhaps he could also be an option at number 10. He will be itching till the veteran Roshan Weerarathne comes to the bench. Rahul also scored two tries and a conversion in the concluded league with a few man of the match performances.

Rahul de Silva

Kevin Dixon

Kevin Dixon

Former St. Peter’s captain and last year’s Sri Lanka U20 7s captain is the smallest guy in the team. His nippiness and quick feet are a treat to watch. He has the talent to adapt to any given position at any given time making him a huge value addition as a utility back. He scored 5 tries in the league and this tournament will be an invaluable experience to him as a 20 year old.

Kavindu Perera

One of the fastest in the team for CR&FC, he found his form when the season was coming to an end, scoring two tries in the league. His defence was superb, the tackles he made were pretty much text book. This will be a test for him especially in international arena, however, the former Vidyartha player understands the game well and with his pace he can be a real threat when he has the ball in hand.

Kavindu Perera

Banuka Nanayakkara

Banuka Nanayakkara

The former Peterite made a pretty big impact in the CR&FC mid-field playing alongside Costa and Kanchana. He is strong and has the capability of breaking the first man defence. He is another improved player in terms of both his attack and defence. He can also play at the pivotal Fly half spot but it will be interesting to see how Coach Taylor fits him in.

Nivanka Prasad

He is a warrior, earning a well-deserved call for the Tuskers after a stunning performance for the Sailors. Although he scored only one try, his work rate played a huge role in terms of gaining meters, tackles made and turnovers. He is strong and never shy of contact. He will be playing as a loose forward and could also be used as a lock.

Nivanka Prasad

Omalka Gunarathne

Omalka Gunarathne

The young beast, former Isipathana and last year’s national U20 captain has a bright future ahead of him. He is strong in contact and very agile with his runs; very good in the breakdowns and turnovers too. He played a vital role for the Navy SC and playing alongside skipper Sudarshana Muthuthantri and Buwanaeka Udangamuwa in the flank will give him lots of confidence. Perhaps this name will be heard more often than not in the commentary.

Dhanush Dayan

Former Antonian Dayan plays at full back or in the wing, and he came in to the champion Kandy outfit as an injury replacement when Anurudda Wilwara was out for the season. What an impact he made with his game controlling ability and making yards with his express pace. He also displayed some great handling skills and now it is time to deliver in the international arena. He scored 4 tries in the concluded Dialog Rugby League.

Dhanush Dayan