St. Joseph’s College with a formidable line-up will look to make a lasting impression in the 2022 Inter-Schools Under-20 ‘A’ Division League Rugby Tournament, which began on Thursday.
The former Inter-Schools Knock-Out champions have already stamped their class and made their intentions clear by recording an impressive 34-3 victory over Kingswood College in their opening match of the tournament. The curtain raiser match of the season in fact, turned out to be an ideal preparation for the lads from Darley Road as they ran circles around the Kingswood defence to plant six magnificent tries, which helped them to collect a bonus point as well.
No doubt, there were few scrappy moments for the Joes throughout the game, but they will be determined to iron out their mistakes and launch a fresh assault when they confront S. Thomas’ College in their second outing of the season next week.
In fact, the Josephians have been drawn in a tough group where they are also set to meet the defending champions Royal College, Trinity College and Vidyartha College.
In the third week of the season, St. Joseph’s will take on the Antonians on July 9 at Havelock Park before their grudge battle against the Trinitians on July 16 at the Pallekele Stadium.
The Joes will conclude their first-round stage of the tournament with the clash against Royal on July 22 at Havelock Park and they need to finish among the top two teams if they are to proceed to the Cup Championship segment.
No doubt, this will be tough ask for the team but with the kind of talent and the potential they possess, St. Joseph’s are certain to be one of the leading contenders to win the league title.
The team will be led by fourth year coloursman and dashing centre three quarter Teran Karunanayake, who could also play as a wing three quarter. Karunanayake, a 200m and 400m champion athlete for his school is determined to take his team to a new level and to create a piece of history in schools’ rugby by winning their maiden ‘A’ Division league rugby title.
In fact, the Josephian back division looks quite impressive with fly half and regular place kicker Dilhara Subash and full back Isuru Kanchana providing a great amount of power and inspiration to the side. Even then, the playmaker and match winner for St. Joseph’s will be their massive Number Eight Navin Marasinghe, who is a tremendous ball carrier for the side and could be a major threat to any kind of opposition. Marasinghe simply provided a glimpse of his performances during the opening match against Kingswood and showed the kind of damage that he could perform to mesmerise the opposition defence.
With Nilfer Ibrahin as the Head Coach and Dulanjana Wijesinghe (Forwards Coach) and Navindra Dayan (Trainer) joining the coaching staff, St. Joseph’s are keen in making it a memorable season this year. In 2020, St. Joseph’s figured in just two matches before the tournament was put off due to the pandemic while going down to Kingswood (17-24) and S. Thomas’ (22-24) respectively. Undoubtedly one of their finest moments on the rugby field was the 19-13 triumph against Isipathana College in the Inter-Schools Knock-Out Tournament final in 2017.