The first leg of the Asia sevens series got underway at the Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley.
Sri Lanka v Hong Kong
As expected this was the big tussle where Sri Lanka Tuskers have struggled in the recent past. Working the ball right to left Hong Kong’s Lee Jones scored the first try in the corner. Sri Lanka’s defense was drawn narrow by the Hong Kong’s ball movement. Tuskers were not allowed a real opportunity to attack in the first half as they did have enough possession.
Sri Lanka’s U20 captain Kevin Dixon put superb pressure on his opposite scrum half but Hong Kong were too good in retaining possession as Alex McQueen scored the second try for the hosts. (SL 00 – 10 HK)
Winning the kickoffs was a key aspect of the Hong Kong team as the inexperienced Lankan’s struggled a great deal.
Dixon was simply outstanding in the defense and attack, he and Danush Dayan collided in a try saving attempt when Hong Kong on verge of scoring another try.
Sri Lanka got two penalties inside their own 22m to which skipper Danushka Ranjan took the quick tap but was unable to go past strong defense. Few phases later, after winning a scrum Jason Dissanayake managed to take the ball a few meters and was tackled by the sideline. However, Tuskers had the ball advantage but Tarinda Ratwatte’s back- flip pass was a gift to Alex McQueen who knocked it or else it would have ended up in another try before the half time.
HT : (SL 00 – 10 HK)
From the restart the hosts dazzled through another try by the veteran Max Woodward. Sri Lanka beat several tackles by Hirantha Perera, Ranjan and Dixon but struggled go beyond 15m’s in attack. Rain started pouring down in the last three minutes and made it difficult for both teams to control the ball.
Tom McQueen sensibly kicked the ball deep in to touch and Sri Lanka won the resulting lineout yet struggled to capitalize and score. Omalka Gunarathne fended off a few players but was unable to find his off load in the wet conditions. As a result Tom McQueen recovered the loose ball and scored the fourth try.
FT : SL 00 – 22 HK
The upset of the day was that China beat Japan 12 – 10 in the pool ‘A’ clash. Japan featured a team of young University students and not a single player from that Olympic squad who beat the New Zealand at Rio. China has been impressive as they beat South Korea 19 – 17 in their second game and affected a 29 – 00 win over Singapore which means they will be taking on Sri Lanka who are the runners up of pool ‘B’.
Sri Lanka v Malaysia
Malaysia fumbled the ball right off the kick-off and Tarinda Ratwatte ran in for an easy try after picking up the loose ball. Dulaj Perera added the extras. Another good restart for the Tuskers followed as they managed to win possession, this time Kevin Dixon made a lovely run to score his first try in senior colours. (SL 14 – 00 MAL)
Malaysia then reduced the gap with a converted try, sending the ball from one end of the ground to the other while moving forward through Mohamed Azwan. (SL 14 – 07 MAL). The Malaysians continued to put pressure on the Lankans and eventually scored through Mohamed Safwan to level the scores. Azwan converted both tries.
HT : (SL 14 – 14 MAL)
At the very beginning of the 2nd half, Sri Lanka were awarded a penalty and Hirantha Perera managed to sprint under the posts after receiving an off-load from Danush Dayan. The Tuskers defense was a bit patchy at the restart but Malaysia opted to kick and chase. Ranjan collected and sent the ball to his right where Dixon timed his run to perfection as he scored his second try of the game. (SL 28 – 14 MAL)
The experienced Dinusha Chathuranga and his Navy teammate Saliya Handapangoda maintained a lovely combination in both games. Chathuranga spotted that there was no sweeper cover and his chip was chased down by Handapangoda, who scored his 1st try.
Jason Dissanayake then joined the party with a 40m running try in the corner. During the last 2 minutes, the Tuskers’ defense lapsed allowing Zulhisham Rasli to score a consolation try.
FT : (SL 40 – 21 MAL)
Sri Lanka took on Chinese Taipei today in the first game of the men’s Rugby outing in the Asia Sevens series in Hong Kong.
Dulaj Perera kicked off the game featuring Dhanushka Ranjan in center and Jason Dissanayake on the wing. On his first touch Dissanayake made a scintillating run but was bundled out of play by some solid Taipei defense. Tuskers however managed to win the Taipei line-out from nearly 20-meters out and set Dissanayake in motion to score the first try in the far corner. Dulaj Perera missed the conversion.
With good ball distribution another lineout saw Dissanayake scoring the second. Despite a lost scrum and some disorganized defense, an interception by the debutant Tarinda Ratwatte and an 85m free run brought another try. Dissanayake converted. (SL 17 – 00 CT)
In the next move, Dhanush Dayan passed to Kevin Dixon the U20 captain who made a goos-step and off loaded to former Trinitian Tarinda Ratwatte for the try. Dulaj made a peach of a conversion from the corner.
Dixon displayed some great defense with a try-saving tackle but was in vain as he was yellow carded in the next second playing offside and not coming through the gates in the breakdown. Pin Yeh scored the first try for Chinese Taipei with a quick tap and run. (SL 24 – 05 CT).
Scrambled defense with the number disadvantage due to the yellow card had Taipei capitalizing on the opportunity to score the second try. However, skipper Ranjan put yards between Sri Lanka and the opponent with a solid step and run from the wide to complete his first try of this series. (SL 31 – 12 CT)
Substitution brought in Saliya Handapangoda and Dinusha Chathuranga for Kevin Dixon and Danush Dayan. From another lineout yet again the ball found Dissanayake in the corner and this time without completing his hat-trick he popped the ball to Chathuranga inside the goal line to place it down for another try.
Replacement Kavindu Perera then put the final nail in the coffin with a superb running out wide to score the 7th try.
FT : Sri Lanka 43 – 12 Chinese Taipei