A bonus Isipathana-Peterite final today | Sunday Observer

A bonus Isipathana-Peterite final today

10 September, 2023
Ashain Madugaspe (Captain – St. Peter’s)-Naveen Kanishka (Captain – Isipathana)
Ashain Madugaspe (Captain – St. Peter’s)-Naveen Kanishka (Captain – Isipathana)

Defending unbeaten schools league rugby champions St. Peter’s College will go out all guns blazing to win the 2023 Under-19 Knock-Out tournament final today at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

Isipathana has a reputation of giving the Peterites a hard time but the defending league champions have the advantage over Isipathana having won the League match 28-17.

Isipathana coach Saliya Kumara expects a tough encounter and makes no secret of the rock solid defence of the Peterites.

“They have a very good forwards pack and a tremendous three-quarter line and we’ve got a huge challenge on our hands and one that we really wanted to face.

“We also had some injuries to our team members, but for the final we have all recovered and we will come out executing our plans,” said Kumara.

Isipathana move out with hopes of winning the knock out championship back-to-back for the second time in succession as they are the defending schools knockout champions.

The Peterites last won the Knock-out title in 2018 with fly half Kenneth Wimaladasa as captain beating St. Joseph’s College by 22 points to 20 with Sanath Martis as coach.

Two players likely to decide things in the match could be Peterite centre Yumeth Shihara when he takes on his opposition playmaker winger Rinesh Silva in what should be an exciting duel.

Although small in stature Rinesh has shown flashes of brilliance and his playmaking skills will have to be at their best if he has to get the better of Shihara who is regarded as one of best attacking players.

“The fact is that rugby is a game in which teams make mistakes, so the team that tends to make fewer mistakes on that day will ultimately win the game,” said Peterite coach Sanath Martis.

Predicting the outcome of today’s final former Sri Lanka player and national team selector Ravi Wijenathan said: “Isipathana go in as underdogs and they can spring a surprise as underdogs always do well in the international rugby arena.

“If the Peterites play with the same brand of rugby which they dished out against Isipathana at the league decider, then trust me St. Peter’s will definitely win,” said Wijenathan.

St. Peter’s College (Probable XV):

Ranithu Ridmal, Januka Ranasinghe, Jehan Weerabangsa, Sadev Gamage, Shenuka Perera, Aiden Fernando, Ashain Madugaspe (captain), Dulaj Navodya, Shalith Gallage or Praneeth Silva and Windya de Mel, Vishenka Silva, Sudesh Jayawickrema, Yumeth Shihara, Pasindu Thakshila, Kushan Tharindu

Isipathana College (Probable XV):

Dunila Hansidu, Senuth Senarathna, Kaveen Tharusha, Kenula Mihisara, Kalindu Silva, Thinethtra Dodangoda, Abdul Azzez, Chamath Iroshan, Shehandu de Costa, Naveen Kanishka (captain), Shahid Zumri, Nisala Jayaweera, Yuvindu Kodithuwakku, Rinesh Silva, Chamindu Chirath

Referee: Raveen Alexander