The second leg of Asia sevens series concluded in Incheon, South Korea minutes ago. Hong Kong were the worthy winners after beating Sri Lanka 36 – 00 in the finals. Third and the final leg will be played in Colombo on 15th & 16th October.
Hong Kong who won the first leg of Asia sevens series in Hong Kong earlier this month has now almost secured the series. As a result its most likely they will join Japan in the world rugby sevens series Hong Kong and Singapore sevens next year. Japan who already qualified for the world sevens series did not pay much attention to this Asian even as they sent only a squad of developing players and some are university students.
As in the first leg Sri Lanka were able to come into the final but once again caved into Hong Kong unable to score a single point against the opponent.
Hong Kong scored in the second minute through Lee Jones after displaying some good handling skills. Captain Danushka Ranjan then made a promising break but was turned over at the breakdown and Hong Kong was smart enough to capitalize on the opportunity to score the second try. Once again it was the New Zealand origin Jones who scored the try.(Sri Lanka 00 – 12 Hong Kong)
Sri Lanka were already on the back foot although Saliya Handapangoda proved why he should be in the team making a brilliant tackle and some tries during the tournament. Unfortunately he was out with an injury sustain just before the half time.
The Tuskers were Clumsy in the red zone and also not organized enough in the attacking line. Srinath Sooriyabandara’s pass to Richard Dharmapala was pressurized by the Hong Kong defense as a result Dharmapala kicked the ball which went straight to Omalka Gunarathne who was playing in the off-side position. That resulting penalty gave veteran Rowan Varty opportunity to score the third try with a quick tap and run.
Half Time : Sri Lanka 00 – 19 hong Kong
The Tuskers struggled in the second half as they did in the first. Ryan Mecheam and Christopher Maize scored immediately which shattered Sri Lanka’s hope of winning a final. Benjamin Rimene the kicker controlled the game very well as Cado Lee scored the final try in the one way traffic.
Sri Lanka could not be creative enough to beat the Hong Kong’s rush defense. Also physically could not beat Hong Kong at the breakdowns. They perhaps lost some confidence after giving away two early tries, missing Jason Dissanayaka’s pace and power in the wing where the Tuskers could have created a bit more of a threat.
Now Hong Kong have 24 points after winning both the legs and Sri Lanka in second place with 20 points.
∙ The winner (1st place) of each of the Ranking Events will receive 12 points
∙ The second place team will receive 10 points
∙ The third place team will receive 8 points
∙ The fourth place team will receive 7 points
∙ The fifth place team will receive 5 points
∙ The sixth place team will receive 4 points
∙ The seventh place team will receive 2 points
∙ The eighth place team will receive 1 point
The only way Sri Lanka could take Hong Kong’s spot in the world series is to win the final and thereafter hope and pray that Hong Kong to finish 4th which is unlikely.
For the final leg Sri Lanka will be pooled alongside China, Chinese Taipei and Singapore. Whilst Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia will be in the other pool.
Sri Lanka will have to do some serious work and come up with a more challenging performance to impress the home audience in Colombo next month.
Sri Lanka beat South Korea and a repeat final over Hong Kong
The second leg of Asia sevens series day two was a superb start for the Tuskers at the Nam Dong Stadium in Incheon, South Korea. It will be a repeat of the first leg as the Sri Lanka Tuskers will play the finals against Hong Kong for the second consecutive time today at 12.53pm SL time.
Sri Lanka 26 – 10 South Korea
‘We try miracles’ was the phrase hanging on at the Incheon stadium, perhaps that worked more in favour of the Sri Lanka national rugby team than the hosts.
Omalka Gunarathne started this game at prop and secured the ball which was almost a lost scrum, his off load found Richard Dharmapala who ran across to pass the speedster Saliya Handapangoda to score the first try. Tarinda Ratwatte added the extras to lead 07 nil. From the restart South Korea had the ball possession but a thumping tackle by the captain Danushka Ranjan was a try saver.
Few phases after, a poor knock on by Kanchana became a lucky escape as Korea playing advantage knocked it on by the 5m mark. Srinath Sooriyabandara running by the sidelines from that reflected scrum was a treat to watch. Sadly he did not had the legs to finish but had the vision of supportive runner Saliya Handapangoda. Sooriyabandara made a huge kick down field and with no sweeper Handapangoda did the chase and scored the try.
Lee Jae Bok of South Korea scored the first try picking up a loose ball as Ranjan’s switch pass was a bit high on Ramanayake.
HT : SL 14 – 05 South Korea
The hosts were under pressure as a poor restart didn’t find 10meters. Sri Lanka had possession and to kill some time perhaps they should have taken few penalties received to touch and penalties on half distance should have been kicked.
After a fantastic passage of play, Korea had the chance to score but the Tuskers managed to turn over as Danush Dayan scored courtesy of Dharmapala and Tarinda Ratwatte’s ball movement. The captain was outstanding throughout this tournament as he made another scintillating try breaking the opposite defense. Hirantha Perera made the conversion.
Kavindu Perera also made the Tuskers defense look solid as he made a peach of tackle with some text book technique. However, Sashan Mohamed seemed a bit out of sorts in attack and defense as South Korea’s winger scored the consolation try around him.
Hong Kong won the first leg beating Sri Lanka 22 – 17, However, Tuskers have a chance to prove at 12.53 pm in the repeat of a final.