Asian Sevens Series 2018 Battle on at Happy Valley

Published : 12:02 am  September 15, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Sri Lanka record 31-00 win over China


 Srinath Sooriyabandara hits a gap, on his way to score Sri Lanka’s third try against China


By Ranil Prematilake in Hong Kong

Both the Sri Lanka men’s and women’s rugby teams survived to battle for top honour’s in the first leg of the Asian Sevens Series 2018 in Happy Valley, Hong Kong yesterday. The Sri Lanka men’s team will have to get the better of Chinese Taipei today in the match scheduled for 9.20am (Sri Lanka Time) to feature in the Cup Championship semi-finals, whilst the Sri Lanka women face a must win situation against China today (7.30am Sri Lanka Time) in order to qualify for the Cup segment semis.   

Japan, aware of the danger before them, utilised maximum force to subdue a fearless Sri Lankan side by 21 points (three converted tries) to nil and assure themselves of a Cup Championship semi-final slot. Japan dominated possession, yet a dogged Sri Lanka defence managed to restrict the Japanese having in their ranks the services of two pacific islanders. To add to the fluctuating fortunes, midway through the game young Dinuk Amarasinghe was pulled out due to an injury (rib-cage), which according to the team management is not a serious one.   



Danush Dayan and Sudam Sooriyarachchi (No. 12) sets-up in defence against Japan


Sri Lanka’s Ayesha Perera runs past a Singapore player  

Pix by Thusith Wijedoru


Sri Lanka capitalised on a couple of fumbles early on by China and dished out a flawless display of fast open rugby to decimate the opponents by 31 points (five tries, three conversions) to nil in the Group ‘A’ opener last afternoon.   
A shaky initial minutes, followed a power packed run by new kid Dinuk Amarasinghe who warded off a couple of Chinese defenders to put Sri Lanka on the board. A perfectly executed ensuing conversion by Srinath Sooriyabandara gave Sri Lanka a 7-0 lead. Sri Lanka wasted no time in forcing their way deep into Chinese territory and was awarded a penalty. Opting for a scrum, skipper Sooriyabandara fed Sudam Sooriyarachchi a blind side ball to go over the line despite valiant efforts by two defenders. Sooriyarachchi himself added the extra points for Sri Lanka to take a 14-00 lead at the breather.   

GAMINI-AND-SONAfter the resumption of play an omnipresent Srinath Sooriyabandara hit a gap, having collected an offload by Kavindu Perera to touch down for an unconverted try, which essentially sealed the game for Sri Lanka. Thereafter Buddhima Piyaratne kicked ahead a loose ball and followed with the pick up to score under the posts. Replacement Kevin Dixon made no mistake with the conversion. Sri Lanka was in no mood to relax and scored another try through Kevin Dixon.   

The tournament got underway with the Sri Lankan women taking on Asian Games bronze medallists Kazakhstan. In a one-sided game, Kazakhstan prevailed 36-00 over a rusty Sri Lankan outfit, guilty of scrappy ball handing on many an occasion. At half time Kazakhstan led 19-00.   The Sri Lankan lasses came back strongly to record a 17-05 win over Singapore with tries coming through Ayesha Perera, Dilrukshi Kumari and Thanuja Weerakkody. The third try was converted by Ayesha Kaluarachchi.   

In the shock of the day, Asian Games bronze medallists South Korea succumbed to the Philippines (07-12), with the winning Philippine try coming in what turned out to be the last move of the game.