Rajans beat the Fighting Josephians in a Close Encounter

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The only unbeaten side of the Schools Rugby League 2013 Dharmaraja College remained unbeaten with a close win of 22-20 against St. Joseph’s College at CR & FC grounds on a wet and gloomy Saturday.

After handing Trinity College their first league defeat two weeks ago at the same venue, the much improved Blue & White  boys from Darley road hosted the ‘Surprise package of the Season’ Dharmaraja College in what was called to be an easy game for the Kandy lads.

Joes kicked off from right to left and started the proceedings but Rajans took the early lead with their trustworthy boot in captain Thilina Wijesinghe putting over a Penalty kick from the 30 meter line at the 5 minute mark. Rajans received the Penalty due to Illegal play by the Josephian forwards in a Scrum. ( Joes 00 – Rajans 03 )

Josephians got a chance to level the scores at the 8 minute mark but no.10 Dulith Fernando missed an easy penalty kick. Big built Josephian  forwards were in full control of the game as they were forging forward with their brilliant pick and go’s and earned a penalty just 5 meters out of the try line and the smart & nippy half back Vimukthi Rahula  took quick tap and scored under the posts putting his college in the lead into 10 minutes of the game. Dulith Fernando converted. ( Joes 07 – Rajans 03 )

Josephian forwards showed no mercy to lackluster forwards from kandy as they were dominating the Scrums and Rajans lost good possession due to mistakes at crucial breakdowns.  Strong attacking playing was shown from both the teams in the half way stage of the 1st half but Josephians extended their lead thanks to their Hooker Devon Fernando who scored off a ruck after their speedy three quarters brought them deep into Rajans Territory. Josephian fly half Dulith Fernando missed the conversion. ( Joes 12 – Rajans 03 )

Rajans No. 13 B.Udangamuwa scored their 1st try of the match after some brilliant stepping after taking a quick penalty tap by himself  to close on the Josephian lead. Rajans full back Rochana Hettiarachchi made no mistake with the conversion. ( Joes 12 – Rajans 10 )

With just over 5 minutes left for the lemons, St. Joseph’s College received a penalty in front of the posts due to illegal scrummaging by the visitors. Dulith Fernando kicked it easily. ( Joes 15 – Rajans 10)

Just seconds before the half time whistle Rajans center B.Udangamuwa showed his class when he sprinted for 40 meters and scored near the corner flag to level the scores after picking up a loose ball from a Josephian player. Rochana Hettiarachchi missed the conversion.

Half time : Joes 15 – Rajans 15 

After the Break, both teams played with great determination and courage in tough ground conditions as the rain poured down but both teams made several handling errors and line out throwing was below par throughout the game.

Josephians capitalized on Rajans handling mistakes at their own half and scored their 3rd try of the match 10 minutes into the 2nd half from their brilliant No.8 Suchintha Udumalagala who led his forwards perfectly into a driving maul. Dulith Fernando missed the conversion. ( Joes 20 – Rajans 15 ) 

Josephians defended the strong Rajans backs well at their own territory but could not prevent the bulky no.13 of Dharmaraja College B.Udangamuwa cross over for another try to complete a hat rick of tries for the game to put his team into a winning position at the 25 minute mark. With this try Dharmaraja College supporters were in full delight but B.Udangamuwa single handedly silenced the home crowd. Rochana Hettiarachi put over the easy conversion to gain the lead for his team. ( Joes 20 – Rajans 22 ) 

Josephians tried their utmost best to score points again before the final whistle but the home team place kicker Dulith Fernando missed a perfect chance to score when he missed an easy 22 meter penalty kick. Intense rugby was shown by both the teams in the dying stages of the game to claim the win but in the end the Power horse from Kandy came out victorious to remain Unbeaten in the league.

Josephians played an impressive game and showed they are no longer a cake walk to any team.

Final Score : Joes 20 – Rajans 22

After the Match

Safety of the Rugby Referees in Sri Lanka has become the hottest topic and another incident was showcased as the Dharmaraja supporters assaulting the Match Referee Charith Kodagoda after the game. It is indeed a black mark in Schools Rugby in Sri Lanka.