First leg of the 65th Bradby Shield encounter:
Royal has edge in today’s game
It should be a close battle for supremacy between Royal forwards and
Trinity three quarters when the two giants in the schools rugby arena
scrum down in the first leg of the 65th Bradby Shield encounter to be
played at Bogambara Stadium, Kandy this evening.
On paper, Royal has a slight edge over their traditional rugby
opponents but the outcome of the first leg would heavily depend on how
freely and effectively the Trinity ‘threes’ could move in ‘Royal
territory’. On the other hand, Trinity will be playing under home
conditions, which is a huge plus point.
Nevertheless, the Reid Avenue boys are determined to humble the Lions
in their own den. In order to keep their chances alive, Royal will
depend heavily on their heavy and mobile pack which is their trump card.
The formidable Royal ‘eight’, spearheaded by vice captain Nikira
Senanayake, Udara de Silva, Ranga Perera, Hamza Hassan and Sri Lanka
youth players Kalana Amarasinghe and Hasthika Bandaranayake have
contributed immensely towards Royal’s success this season.
However, Trinity has an equally strong ‘weapon’ in their ‘armory’ in
that speedy and penetrative back division comprising centres Vishwajith
Wijesinghe, Lasantha Samarasekera and wingers Kennon Armstrong, Akila
Dissanayake. They will have the luxury of a smooth halves combination in
Sri Lanka youth player Adeeb Hameed and Rohan Weerakoon who are capable
of feeding the backs.
Royal has remained unbeaten this season, beating S.Thomas’ 37-33,
St.Anthony’s 39-06, St.Peter’s 30-10 and Mahanama 54-3.
In contrast, Trinity has lost two of their four outings. Losing to
lesser known rugby opponent St. Joseph’s 24-27 would undoubtedly be a
big setback. Trinity also lost to S. Thomas’ 17-26 while beating town
mates St. Anthony’s 48-10 and St. Peter’s 43-33.
However, the courageous Lions have come back to the picture strongly
and the Bradby would be a different ball game altogether. Today’s
meeting will be the 153rd first XV rugby meeting between the two schools
in 90 years.
The Royal-Trinity rugby series started way back in 1920 though the
Bradby Shield was introduced only in 1945 in honour of the former Royal
Principal the late E.L. Bradby. Of the 64 Bradby Shield encounters,
Trinity takes the lead with 35 wins to Royal’s 28 with one tie.
Trinity are the proud custodians of the coveted Bradby Shield, having
narrowly won last year’s encounter on a better aggregate. Last year,
Trinity won the first leg in style 24-12 in Colombo but Royal came back
strongly to win the ‘return’ leg 8-0. Royal’s last ‘Bradby’ win was in
2007 under Manil Abeyratne.
The two leading rugby playing schools in the country have made a
great contribution to Sri Lanka rugby, producing many star Sri Lanka
players. Gracing today’s first leg as the chief guest will be one of
those proud products of Trinity - their 1969 captain and former Sri
Lanka full back Shafi Jainudeen.
Whatever the outcome would be, the Bradby Shield would dish out fast
and open rugby and the spectators are assured of some power packed
action with rugby at its best. Moreover, it is a meeting point for the
past and present Royalists and Trinitians to recall their past memories
and share their experience.
Trinity: Chamudith Weerakoon, Damith Dissanayake, Murad Ramzeen,
Gotabaya Mahesh, Deshan Aluvihare, Idris Omar, Murugesan Unananaudan or
Mohamed Irfan, Shannon Armstrong, Adeeb Hameed and Rohan Weerakoon,
Kennan Armstrong, Vishwjith Wijesinghe (Captain), Lasantha Samarasekera,
Akila Dissanayake, Kanchana Ramanayake or Surendra Alwis.
Royal: Nikira Senanyake, Udara de Silva, Ashen Dassanayake, Kalana
Amarasinghe, Ranga Perera, Shehan Pathirana, Hasthika Bandaranayake,
Hanza Hassen, Aqueel Sathuk and Navin Dhason (Capt.), Shamil Ahamed,
Daminda Attygalle, Mushin Faleel, Chamara Dabare, Shabbir Mohamed.
Referee: Dilroy Fernando.