Isipathana College crowned Under 19 Schools Elite Rugby 7s Champions

SLSRFA Under 19 Elite Rugby 7s 2023


Day 02 of the SLSRFA Under 19 Schools Elite Rugby 7s Tournament was worked off today (11) at the Royal College Sports Complex, with 22 knockout games taking place to settle the winners of the four segments – Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield. Isipathana College, who missed out on winning the Sevens title last year, came out all guns blazing to beat St. Peter’s College in the Cup Finals to win the championship.

Wesley College, who suffered a shock loss against Piliyandala Central College on Day 01 and had to settle with a spot in the Shield segment, made sure there were no hiccups on Day 02 as they won both their games with dominating performances. After receiving a walkover win in the Shield Quarter-final, the Double Blues beat St. John’s College 34-0 in the Semi-final and St. Sylvester’s College 29-0 in the Final, to walk out as the winners of the Shield segment.

>>Wesley big losers as Isipathana, St.Anthony’s, St. Peter’s & St. Joseph’s impress

Thurstan College, who had just one game on Day 01 where they lost to Vidyartha College, came out on Day 02 with three phenomenal performances to win the Bowl segment. In the Bowl Quarter-finals, the Thurstanites overcame Lumbini College with ease as the scoreline read 33-0. After that, Thurstan once again produced a quality display of Rugby in the Semis to register a thumping win over St. Benedict’s College 36-0. In the Bowl Finals, Thurstan faced Piliyandala Central College, who produced a giant killing performance on Day 01 and overcame that challenge in style with a 24-12 victory which made them the Bowl winners.

Vidyartha College, who came into this tournament as defending joint champs, locked horns with D. S. Senanayake College, the other defending joint champs, in what appeared to be a rematch clash from last year’s Cup Final but it was the Plate finals this year. The two sides did not disappoint once again as the game went right down the wire, but this time there was a winner as the Tigers from the Hill Capital emerged victorious 21-19 to win the Plate.

>>Royal, St. Joseph’s, St. Peter’s and Trinity seal Cup Semi final berths

Leading into the Plate Final, Vidyartha College faced Kingswood College in the Plate Semi-final, which went down as the only game that went into sudden death overtime, as both the teams gave their all and it was all even at 19 all at full time. However, Vidyartha College heaved a sigh of relief when they scored the sudden death try to keep their Plate segment dreams alive. This was a game with a lot of twists and turns as, at the 9th minute mark, Vidyartha led 19-0, but Kingswood made a strong comeback scoring three back to back tries in quick succession.

It is fair to say that all 7 games in the Cup segment delivered big time, as we saw the top 8 schools of the tournament showcasing a high class brand of Rugby for the spectators. In the first Quarter-final, St. Joseph’s beat Vidyartha 24-5, while the eventual winners Isipathana won against Kingswood in the next Quarter-final in a game that got a lot closer than a lot of people expected, as the final scores were 12-5. In the 3rd Quarter-final, St. Anthony’s who played an exciting and fast paced brand of Sevens Rugby, produced a thumping performance to decimate the Rajans 29-0. In the 4th and final Cup Quarter-final, the Dons almost pushed the Peterites out of the Cup segment, but the high riding boys from Bamba shattered their dreams of defending the title with a 19-12 win.

>>Isipathana reigns supreme at the 2023 Schools’ Rugby curtain raiser

The first Cup Semi-final took place between Isipathana and St. Joseph’s, and just as always, the two teams delivered an exciting clash. Isipathana had the early upper hand with two consecutive tries in the first half, but the Joes made a strong comeback in the second half to take a slender 2-point lead. However, the Green Machine took back the lead in what we can call a decisive moment in the whole tournament, as the Joes did not have enough time after that to get back the lead. With this result, Isipathana booked their place in the Cup Finals.

In the second Semi-final clash, the Peterites started off strong and quickly took the game away from the Eagles. Although the Eagles scored quick tries in the second half, the deficit was too much for them to catch up as St. Peter’s College won the match 35-24, setting up the Isipathana Vs. St. Peter’s tussle in the Cup Finals.

With the Cup final looming, the crowd got very vocal at the Royal Complex as supporters of both the Colombo schools showed up in numbers to support their team. The two teams ran out to the playing field to a thunderous ovation as the intensity grew sky high. The Green Machine suffered an early setback when Shahid Zumri received a yellow card from the first move of the game. However, the Peterites failed to make use of their numbers advantage as they too suffered a huge blow when Dulaj Nawodya was sent to the sin bin.

>>SLSRFA Under 19 School’s Elite Rugby 7s 2023 – Groups| Fixtures & Format 

Isipathana managed to slowly build up some momentum after that, and they went over for the first try of the Final as the Green Army jumped up with excitement in the stands.  With both sides having been restored back to seven members each, the raw pace of Isipathana College and their man-to-man defence were in full flow, as St. Peter’s never really got the opportunity to find the whitewash easily. Isipathana scored two more tries and the scoreline read 19-0 in the second half. Trailing by 19 points, St. Peter’s finally found their first try, but time was quickly running out for them.

St. Peter’s College tried hard to score another try and they did manage to go over the try line, but it was too little too late for them. The hooter went off and with a 9 point lead – Isipathana knew it was all done and dusted as soon after the referee blew the full time whistle. The Isipathana College players and supporters started their celebrations as they added another piece of silverware to their large collection of Rugby trophies with this win against St. Peter’s College 19-10.

Isipathana won the Sevens title for the first time since 2014, as their quest for another triple crown officially got underway in style. This is their 2nd Sevens title of the year as they emerged victorious in the All Island Under 18 Sevens last month. Shahid Zumri also made a double of MVP awards as he was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament award, just like in the Under 18 Tournament.

 SLSRFA Under 19 Schools Elite Rugby 7s 2023

Day 02 – Results