Life in paradise can be a lot more than just your perfect existence..especially when the weather turned on our much anticipated rugby season. Wet and muddy conditions underfoot meant that teams who adjusted better, to the rain and handling the slippery ball stepped up with a reasonable alternative for the duration.
Fundamental to performance in the middle is sharper thinking and careful handling, not only is it tough for the threes to indulge …but tougher for the forwards to grip and control upfront and at the breakdowns.
The results speak loudest and teams grateful for a mud soaked, injury free finish by the 80 mins full time.
Hopefully Kandy will be happy for some sun on their backs …good to see them stick to their basics and patiently grind away at a resilient CR ..for a good 70 mins. CR are also strapped in with injuries. That give their bench more emphasis. Omalka G ..hamstring and desperate to play..needs to be fully fit to open up defences..Wise for them to line up the likes of Noor etc…for consistency in the boiler house.
Kandy have structured their skills to outplay all comers, matching the Reds pound for pound …and in the extreme rain water/mud adjust, did splendidly well to win the sets……scrum and lineouts tough and graft to survive.
Ruck ball was the call and don’t let the Reds rip it off us ..aggressive in the mauls..walk and talk …
Great match to watch despite the weather ..and the defending champions, closed it down with a Weeraratne/Ranjan try that epitomized the skill and efficiency available on demand ..
The skipper kicking a low ball inside his own half ..lands inside CR 22m …as the ball gets stuck ..Ranjan at speed dives into the mud ..slides 10m ..grabs the ball ..continues to slide another 15m over the line for a clinical try that was supreme to clock ..elegant skills perfectly adapted ..impeccable finish..untouched.
Udangamuwa, the no 8 for Kandy..owned Longdon Place ..was sharpest to the breakdown and led his forwards like Vikings sacking a village ..nothing was left to chance ..and the W at the end ..24/12..stamping their class this season.
It remains to be seen and a decent wager on Navy and Havelocks to stall their progress and outplay Kandy in the 1st round …if it’s possible or not is nervous goose bumps for our resident pundits and experts …those armchairs must be lonely places and nowhere to park the crystal ball?
Navy struggling all the way against Air Force ..only managed a 10-nil win and much concern for the coaching staff about adaptability and thinking under pressure.
CH will be kicking themselves for the 3rd week running ..having given their opponents early Christmas presents and only their own thinking to blame. Wins against Army, Havies and Police on the cards ..and would have put them in the top 2 …with plenty of opportunity to strike at the top.
But reality is harsh ..and a 21-all draw, a touch too tough to accept for their 80mins grab and tackle at Police Park.
CH need to be a lot more positive, trust their skills and step up to be clinical finishers ..points on the board is mighty.
Emphasis on hard work around the park and contesting everything on the deck absolutely vital to their cause ..let’s keep one eye open for their 1st round finish and improved levels to surprise teams in round 2.
Havelocks cruised to 29 points v Army and deserved to be no 2 in the table ..plus a good chance that their backs are starting to stamp some authority in the middle , but without Dixon to add more dimension to their running game ..life will be tough for Dulaj, Sandun coming back from injury and Dabere still off his A game.
Nevertheless watch out for their ability as a team to bite back..and with Rahul de Silva in good nick at 9, back from university in Australia, the base looks solid with Dulaj at 10, the options certainly line up for coach Martis to be creative under pressure.
Beating Army by 29 points ..and plenty to shout about last Saturday….plus lots more happiness and sauce at their clubhouse in Havelock town…the strains of happy vocals wafting across Pedris Park and over the basketball facility towards the seafront.
The hype and hot air about needing to constantly upgrade muscle kilograms, energy levels and performance… is certainly more fashionable than designer aftershave…each gym a waterfront advertising lightbox for supplements and all sorts.
Rugby players massive fashion victims desperate to carry more muscle and impact in the middle ..bigger, better, faster ..the siren call!
Unfortunately there is so much mileage from Hollywood to Bollywood and across the ocean to sunny Sri about how these chemical powder enhances everything? Professor Arjuna as the authority to keep sport clean and Dr Seevali with his anti doping team are in the front lines to save our emerging generation of hugely impressionable players and teams.
This is a national problem and should be given priority and funding to have proper advise and legally acceptable WADA cleared supplements for athletes. The argument is about individual rights and no fuss if you are not a national or 1st class representative player.
Huge fuss if you are capped for your country..and tested positive for banned substance etc ..
I hesitate to stand up on my eco friendly soapbox …but when you hear how much emphasis and investment schools are indulging…the mind boggles and I shudder at the chemical mix in the kids blood and irreversible damage to multiple organs etc ..
Parents and responsible officials must be guided and advised ..the gremlins are too harsh to combat and lethal consequences as you step forward. The nation and governing bodies need to address and arrest it’s progress sooner rather than later.
Saturday 9th: Air Force v CH 4pm Ratmalana, Kandy v Navy 4pm Nittawela, CR v Havelocks 4pm Longdon Place.
Sunday 10th: Navy v Police 4pm venue not confirmed.
If you are travelling or prefer to veg at home ..the game is on line live with the papare.com, plus stats etc ..Certainly a handy companion to rely on.
That’s the wrap this Thursday, hope you ready the mind and contemplate the possible odds for a team to beat Kandy in round 1 and shock the pundits who lurk knowingly …..till that full time roar, we live in great anticipation
Blessings islanders..step up step strong
Cheers to all!