Mixed fortunes for fighting Sri Lanka

Published : 9:22 am  September 2, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (48) reads | 

By Ranil Prematilake 

reporting from Hong Kong

Sri Lanka surrendered a 14-05 half time lead against South Korea before going down 14-24 in their last group game in the Asian Sevens Rugby Series 2017 first-leg match played under lights at the Kings Park Sports Ground in Hong Kong yesterday. 


The match of course got underway following a heavy downpour and three unanswered second half tries sealed the game for the Koreans.


The final score read 24 points (two goals and two tries) to 14 points (two goals) . 


With this outcome Sri Lanka will now meet China in the quarter-final scheduled for today (2) at 10.36 a.m. (SL time). 


Sri Lanka started the game promisingly when Skipper Sudharshana Muthuthanthri outran his opposing number to fall under the post. Tharinda Ratwatte’s conversion was on target. 


However, South Korea replied in quick time with an unconverted try. The Lankans pressed hard and Sudam Sooriyarachchi in a breathtaking solo effort covered nearly 40 metres to touch down deep in the right flank. 


Tharinda Ratwatte curled in the corner flag conversion over the cross-bar. 


The resumption of play had South Korea dominating proceedings with a flow of tries. 


“Mistakes in the last three minutes cost us the game. It was there for us to be won,” said a rather dejected Peter Woods, Coach of the Sri Lanka Team. 

 

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“This is not what we wanted, in the last three minutes we missed a 

 

This is not what we wanted, in the last three minutes we missed a couple of one-to-one tackles. We will go back to the hotel and analyse our performances and comeback strong for the quarter-final

 

couple of one-to-one tackles. We will go back to the hotel and analyse our performances and comeback strong for the quarter-final,” Woods added with optimism. Meanwhile, an eight-try blitz saw Sri Lanka thump Chinese Taipei by 52 points (6 goals and 2 tries) to 07 (1 goal) after leading 26-07 at the breather in their second outing. 


Taking a cue from the earlier game, the Sri Lankans secured possession off the kick-offs and went a further step of forcing mistakes on the part of Chinese Taipei in the restart. 


In the very first minute, it was Buddhima Piyaratne who accelerated before off-loading the ball for Dhanusha Dayan to touch down. 
Tharinda Ratwatte made no mistake with the under the post conversion. Soon after, Tharinda Ratwatte in trademark fashion hit a gap to fall under the post for Sudam Sooriyarachchi to oblige with the conversion.  Chinese Taipei hit back with a converted try, only to see the Lankans score twice more before the breather.  First, fleet footed Buddhima Piyaratne set up a try for Sudam Sooriyarachchi which was converted by Tharinda Ratwatte.  Skipper Sudharshana Muthuthanthri followed up with an unconverted try in what turned out to be the last move of the initial seven minutes. 

 

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After the turnaround, a brace a-piece by Kavindu Perera and young Naveen Henakankanamage, with two successful conversions by Kevin Dixon and another by Sudam Sooriyarachchi saw Sri Lanka surpass the 50-point mark. 


The two-day tournament kicked-off with the young Sri Lankan side confronting Asian giants Japan in their first outing. 


Much to the surprise of an appreciative crowd present at the venue, Sri Lanka scored early through Tharinda Ratwatte who punted ahead and collected the loose ball to touch down.  Tharinda’s attempt to add extra points fell short. What followed was a five-try spree by the strongly built Japanese team fielding a few Fiji born players.  The tournament favourites Japan eventually triumphed by 33 points (four goals and a try) to 05 (one try).  At the short-whistle the Japanese led 12-05. Sri Lanka were found wanting in securing the ball (possession) off kick-offs and three of the Japanese tries (all converted) resulted from this basic error. 

 


 

The quarter- final draw for today: Philippines vs South Korea, Hong Kong vs Chinese Taipei,Malaysia vs Japan and China vs Sri Lanka 


Results: Japan beat Sri Lanka 33-05; South Korea beat Chinese Taipei 43-07; Hong Kong beat Malaysia 31-00; China beat Philippines 22-05; Sri Lanka beat Chinese Taipei 52-07; Japan beat South Korea 33-10; Hong Kong beat Philippines 38-05; China beat Malaysia 54-14; Japan beat Chinese Taipei 38-00; South Korea beat Sri Lanka 24-14; Hong Kong beat China 26-07; Philippines beat Malaysia 26-00.