Sri Lanka mark their return to fifteen-a-side rugby with a comprehensive victory

Asia Rugby Division 1 Championship 2024

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The second semi final of the Asia Rugby Men’s Division 1 Championship 2024 took place between the hosts Sri Lanka and India at the Racecourse grounds. This game took place under lights and it was a pretty much one sided game with the hosts dismantling the neighbours India 45-10.

The game started an hour late due to the delay of the first game of the day. Indians started the game positively as they received a penalty for a high tackle from a kickable distance, and the skipper Deepak Punia added the first 3 points of the game (Sri Lanka 00 – 03 India).

India had the lead in the game for about 13 minutes before Sri Lanka struck back with a powerful rolling maul which opened up ample space for Pulasthi Dasanayake to just have a casual stroll towards the try line. Tarinda Ratwatte added the extra points to make it a 4 point lead (Sri Lanka 07 – 03 India).

Just a couple of minutes later, Akash Madushanka, Ratwatte, and Sudharaka Dikkumbura combined to take Sri Lanka out of their own 22m territory. From the breakdown, the likes of Mursheed Zubair and Adeesha Weeratunga chipped in with another contribution from Dikkumbura as Thenuka Nanayakkara found space and had no one in front. Indians had no answer to the speed Sri Lanka showed where they moved the ball from right to left and left to right in no time with some quality passing. Ratwatte kicked the conversion through to add 2 more points (Sri Lanka 14 – 03 India).

Sri Lanka, who found their mojo after the first two tries, continued the same momentum, and it got even stronger when India conceded a penalty for an offside tackle. Heshan Jansen took the tap quickly and made some good meters before giving a back-of-the-hand pass to Ratwatte. Sri Lanka then once again shifted the focus from the right side to the left of the field, and Nanayakkara gave a perfectly timed pass out to Dikkumbura, who managed to break away from the last line of Indian defense with a lovely step inside to go all the way. Ratwatte converted the try again to keep his 100% record intact (Sri Lanka 21 – 03 India).

Half Time: Sri Lanka 21 – 03 India.

Just 3 minutes into the second half, Sri Lanka received a penalty for a high tackle infringement. Ratwatte with a powerful kick, which gained around 40 meters, took Sri Lanka deep into the Indian territory once again. From the Lineout, Tuskers once again opted for the rolling maul, and Dasanayake touched down for his 2nd five-pointer of the day quite easily. Ratwatte unfortunately missed the conversion but the lead was well over 20 for the hosts (Sri Lanka 26 – 03 India).

The next try came for Sri Lanka on the back of individual brilliance from Nanayakkara who produced a scintillating 45-meter run where he managed to fox the last set of defenders to find the whitewash. Ratwatte got the conversion right this time as the lead increased to 30 for the Islanders (Sri Lanka 33 – 03 India).

With Sri Lanka well in front, India found some life in the game out of nowhere and their confidence grew further when Madushanka was sent to the sin bin after a high tackle. India kicked the ball into touch from the penalty, and from the line-out, they went for the rolling maul, giving Sri Lanka a taste of their own medicine. Bharat went over the line as India finally scored their opening try of the game. Skipper Punia added the 2 extra points to take their total to the double-figure mark (Sri Lanka 33 – 10 India).

With a lot of fresh legs on the park, Sri Lanka started to use their pace once again to trouble the tired Indians. Hirantha Perera, who came off the bench, started the spark for the 6th try and the likes of Madushanka and Hirusha Nethmina joined in before Ratwatte finished the job to go all the way off an attacking move. Nethmina missed the conversion after not getting the connection he was looking for (Sri Lanka 38 – 10 India).

The last try of the game arrived for Sri Lanka when they received a penalty just inside the Indian half, and Kavindu de Costa took the tap and gave the pass out to Ratwatte who gave a beautiful inside pass to Nethmina while getting tackled and Nethmina went all the way comprehensively. Nethmina converted the try as the referee signaled for the end of the game (Sri Lanka 45 – 10 India)

Sri Lanka will now face Kazakhstan in the final of the tournament, and this will be a tough challenge for the Tuskers. It will be a battle between the strength of the Kazakhstan forwards and the raw pace of the Lankan backs. The heartracing clash will take place on the 4th of May at 7:00 PM at the Racecourse grounds in Colombo. You can catch all the live action from this final-day encounter on Sri Lanka’s Number 1 Sports Channel ThePapare TV and our social media platforms.

Full Time :- Sri Lanka 45 (7T 5C) beat India 10 (1T 1C 1P)