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Isipathana undisputed Under 20 league rugby champions

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Action from the match between Royal and Isipathana. (Pic by Dushmantha Mayadunne)

Unbeaten Isipathana College emerged as the Inter-Schools Under-20 ˜A Division League rugby champions for 2022. Last week, they cleared their final hurdle of this 12-team tournament by overcoming arch-rivals Royal College 21-15 in the Super Round decider played at Havelock Park.

It turned out to be a double celebration for Isipathana as they also went on to regain the Major Milroy Fernando Memorial Trophy after 2017. Even then, their success in the league was more significant since they were able to put an end to Royals domination during the last three years of this tournament.

In fact, Royal were heading towards a unique record in schools rugby as they had set their sights on retaining the ˜A Division League title for a record fourth successive year.

However, Isipathana made certain that the biggest Trophy in schools rugby would return to Havelock Park as they dished out some outstanding rugby to emerge undisputed champions. Even then, Isipathana were on the backfoot at the start of the game and there were serious doubts in their minds whether they could match the powerful Royal forwards in the rucks and mauls.

But Isipathana did a tremendous job by contesting the more superior Royal forwards specially in the line outs and not allowing the opposition to create that opportunity for the rolling maul.

As a result, Royal were under pressure and they were forced to try out some different options to retain possession, which anyway did not work out well for the lads from Reid Avenue.

The Isipathana forwards were able to create a little bit of doubt in the opposition camp through some smart work in the line outs and that really hurt Royal, who were forced to make some cardinal errors.

Isipathana were quick to pounce on their opponents mistakes and counter attacked magnificently through their speedy back division with dashing winger Stephan Jayakanth scoring the decisive try. Meanwhile, St. Josephs College had the satisfaction of claiming the runners-up position with a comprehensive 26-11 victory over Wesley College in their last Super Round fixture played at Havelock Park. The Josephians made their intentions quite clear from the kick-off and went in search of their four tries, which helped them to earn a valuable bonus-point and to secure second place in the points table.

Even then, St. Josephs cannot be pleased with their first-half performance, which was rather scrappy, but they certainly made amends with a splendid performance in the second half.

In fact, three of their four tries were scored in the second half as they produced a solid and determined performance to finally conclude the league tournament in a spectacular manner.

Two of their key players number eight Naveen Marasinghe and flanker Sachinthana Vidyana had an outstanding game as they piled up 19 points during a tremendous second-half performance.

The Wesleyites, of course could not live up to expectations as they were far behind the other three teams of the Super Round but will look to make amends in the knock-out tournament.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022 – 01:00

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