Despite a close win against Chinese Taipei, the Sri Lanka Rugby sevens team finished 3rd in Pool A and they will go on to face Hong Kong in the quarter finals tomorrow in the Asia 7’s 2nd leg currently underway in Korea.
The 3rd and final match for the Tuskers in the group stages took place against Chinese Taipei. The Lankans needed a big win if they were to secure 2nd place in the group after the drawn clash against China. They started off in fine fashion yet again with Dhanushka Ranjan scoring in the 2ndminute. He got the ball at the half way mark, shoved-off the final defender, stepped back in and went over to score. Taipei answered with an immediate counter attacking try from Huang Po as the Lankans were caught napping in the field.
Taipei found good momentum as the game progressed and it almost looked as if the Tuskers were caught by surprise but they somehow managed to find their footing and the lead through a converted try by Jason Dissanayake. Unfortunately for the Tuskers, the lead did not last long as Chinese Taipei tied things up in the final minute of the first half through a converted try by Cheng Chia.
Half Time : Sri Lanka 12 – Chinese Taipei 12
The Sri Lanka Rugby team once again looked to dominate after the break as they kicked things off with a converted try by Ratwatte but the Taiwanese kept on bouncing back. They immediately replied with a converted try by Hunag Te Lung. Tuskers were punished for missing tackles and holding back which gave the Taiwanese ample space to work with.
The final few minutes were tense and that’s when Srinath Sooriybandara decided to show some individual brilliance. He took the ball from the restart, stepped away from the defenders, shoved-off two more and went all the way to score under the post. Just when the Lankans thought they had the match in their bag, Taiwanese rebounded with the try by Hsin Keui. Fortunately for the Tuskers, Chinese Taipei failed to convert the try which cost them the game.
Full Time : Sri Lanka 26 – Chinese Taipei 24
Tuskers’ clash with China ends in a standstill
It was expected to be an evenly matched clash between the Sri Lanka Rugby sevens team and China and that was exactly what everyone witnessed at the end. The Tuskers drew first blood in the 2nd minute with an unconverted try by Dhaushka Ranjan who showed some good strength and pace in the corner. The Chinese bounced back with try by Ma Chong. Once again it was their big man Gao who made the breakthrough which led to the try.
China took the lead in the next minute when Cheng Yong went over the line. Gao was once again in action with another run right through the defences which opened the field for China. Seconds before half time, the Tuskers managed to cut down the deficit through some great work by Jason Dissanayake. China had a brain freeze which opened a gap in the middle and they were punished.
Half Time : China 12 – Sri Lanka 12
The second half was once again a cliffhanger. The Tuskers started off with a converted try from Jason who went over for the 3rd time in the tournament. He started off in his own half, pulled the dummy on Gao in the corner and ran all the way to score. Ratwatte converted to add the extras. China bounced back with a converted try. Srinath Sooriyabandara produced a rare knock on which led to a counter from the Chinese. It was Shan Chang who went over for them.
With less than 3 minutes remaining, the Tuskers pulled off a brilliant try. Sooriyabandara broke through from their own half, got the offload to Ranjan who did the rest. His brute strength and speed was no match for the Chinese as he went over the line for his second try. With a 7-point lead the Lankans had the edge but the Chinese did not give up and they were rewarded for their perseverance. Hu Zhen finished the match with a converted try which ended the game 26 all.
Full Time : China 26 – Sri Lanka 26
Unsettled Sri Lanka humiliated by Japan
The Tuskers were unsettled and were struggling to hold on to possession while the Japanese ran in tries from every nook and corner.
Back in the Asia Sevens circuit after injury, Danushka Ranjan made an impact in the very first minutes of play crossing over the line for a try and unfortunately that was the only attempt the islanders received against the 1st leg winners.
Making their presence felt, Japan crossed the white line on seven occasions during the 14 minutes of play and out of which six of them were converted.
Towards the last few minutes, Sri Lanka had given up their run and the Japanese found themselves in easy scoring situations and finished at 47 points.
Score Breakdown – Sri Lanka 5 (1T) – Japan 47