St. Joseph’s College have kicked off the 2019 Schools’ Rugby season with a fairytale start, winning four-out-of-four – remaining unbeaten in the first wound –, however will underdogs Wesley College – last in group IA – manage to spoil the Josephian party early on in the second round?
When: 22nd April 2019
Where: Sugathadasa Stadium
Les-Blues will be smarting for a better start to the second round after hanging onto the Cup segment by the skin of their teeth while St. Joseph’s on the other hand have their best start to a Schools’ Rugby season and will no doubt be looking for more of the same.
Most recent Results: (All tournaments)
- Wesley College beat St. Joseph’s College 23-14 – League 2017
- St. Joseph’s College beat Wesley College 43-29 – Knockout 2017
- St. Joseph’s College beat Wesley College 26-16 – League 2018
Last time they met:
It was a Gemunu Chethiya show at the Park stadium at Havelocks. The current CR & FC player brought on the Razzle-Dazzle to mesmerize the Double-Blues with a hat-trick of his own to take the Josephians towards victory.
The hosts lead 14-8 at halftime and went on to record 26 points thanks to three tries from Chethiya and a single from Naveen De Silva to wrap up a bonus point win.
Most Recent encounter:
Both sides come into the second round off a festive break and with moral bosting victories on their back, the Josephians toppling Isipathana while the double blues defeated S. Thomas’ at home.
A hand-fight at Havelock Park saw the Josephians get the better of the Isipathana lads to blemish their unbeaten run as costly misses came back to bite the Green Machine.
Wesley bettered the Blue and White lads win by a single point, won the Sir Oliver Goonathilake memorial shield 26-24 at the Thomian fortress Mount Lavinia. These wins meant that the Joes remained unbeaten while Wesley survived the drop to the Plate Segment.
Players to watch out for:
The usual suspects Tharindu Maduranga, Rashane Gunawardena, Tharindu De Alwis and Santhush Algama will no doubt want to put their hands up for the Josephians. The likes of Sudaraka Devappriya and Aaron Perera have put their hands up, solidifying the sturdy three-quarter line.
Cheka Jayawardena, Shehan Kelaniyagoda and Nehan Prera have been three others who have imposed themselves on their opposition, rounding off a might forward pack.
Samuel Ogbebo will need to rally his troops around him as they aim to halt their opposition forwards.
Meanwhile, Skipper Murshid Zubair has unfortunately failed to live up to expectations, however, the likes of Srhitheysh Thawaraja and Tharindu Walpitage put their hands up at the correct moment inspiring the Double-Blues towards the Sir Oliver Goonathilake memorial shield.
They will no doubt have their hands-full against a potent Josephian back line, but writing off Les-Blues this early could be costly, come game time.
What to expect:
The Joes faithful will no doubt be asking for more of the same, fast running rugby with a sense of flair to it. The Wesley lads are known for their quick paced running game too. This will be a game between the three-quarters of both teams.
Not forgetting the forwards, expect a hand wrestle between the two forward packs, aiming to get front-foot ball, setting up a steady platform for their backs to attack.
Expect one teams’ forwards to dominate with hopes of releasing their potent three-quarters. It will no doubt be a walk in the park for the team that manages to get the upper hand early on.
It is a mountain to climb, if Wesley are to defeat a well-oiled Josephian outfit, however, if there is a team that could get the job done against the Blue and White it would be Wesley College. Having said that, it would be difficult to bet against the Josephians continuing their fairytale season.
Joes to win by 7-12 points.