Salutations and top regards to all our regulars just getting ready for a cracking conclusion to the league championship in sunny Sri. Fair to sit back and pretend not to feel that pressure and fair too, that the faint hearted, settle for crumpets and tea at the impressive Cinnamon Grand. Best leave our resident experts to speculate on the quality of scones or crumpetrather than fuss the points and form going into week 10. Infinitely better we ship our google and fb qualified rugby gurus to England for the RBS 6 Nations next month. ...give them a freebie to inspect the match venues and running surface from Cardiff to Twickenham...prior to perhaps the most anticipated home unions battle since the Normans storming the neighbours bastions many seasons prior perhaps some strategic advice from Blackadder?
The focus for all rugby hearts is still the lack of television coverage on terrestrial channels ...which should be a priority for the stakeholders and those who partner our island game. To broadbase and truly spread the word of rugby to all corners needs the same push and support international cricket gets throughout our tropical haven...every school kid and family understands why our captain Mathews is up defending his team to the world, after they folded up against conditions, class and genuine pace in South Africa.
The fact that pretty much mostly all the cricket team is desperate for news from home and injury updates... will the SRI rep players be fit available and injury free for Kandy ...We have to be sharp to understand the nature of injury and its survival...for the last 2 match weekends. It will be a brave man who bets against Kandy to quietly hand the league title to Havies or Navy ...lets test the theory?
I firmly believe and back the fitter players to take the league and defy Science ...that will depend on how efficient the conditioning coaches have been, with the strategy, training and pure attitude of the possible XV? The skill to survive and translate all that to work and responsibility in the middle ...so as a team they are mighty supportive of each other in the thick of things...
Life under pressure in the middle is about absorbing everything the opposition throws at you... being patient and able to turn on the charm and score as required... The finishing is key ...and the team with designated finishers ...professional runners who smell the line from 75 meters out and can slice through defences, add dimension and magic to the game, and for us fans to scream...
Spare a thought for the back room boys working furiously to recover a range of niggling injuries all week... that add quality and make the Navy v Kandy game at the Nittawela cauldron of pain ...a real old fashion grudge battle, a total bruiser of a match, with no love lost and not an inch given.
The fans who want to see true gladiatorswill be thrilled to bits ...as I believe skill might be compromised for brute force and more mauls on the cards.
Navy will focus their defence to stop Kandy getting clean ball and trying to pressure the no. 9 Roshan Weeraratne at the base if Kandy have the luxury of possession ...expect Danushka Ranjan and Nigel Ratwatte to cause all sorts of problems for Navy.
What a delicious confrontation in the hills ...all roads will certainly lead to the tunnel at the bottom of the hill at Nittawela. A good hard graft 80 minutes ...billed to thrill, especially after that first round loss in Welisara.
The championship race is mesmerizing ...and means that Havelocks, Navy and Kandy are all in with a chance ...experience, talent, fitness and planning all value pillars of the side that goes all the way ...but its pure unadulterated hunger that will define the winner. Who will have more fire in the belly? Who is the hungriest team in the league? Your guess is a mighty statement and hints at ability to read a game based on form and stats ...Enjoy!
A final word on the gladiator spirit that will shine through all performance indicators this year ...rugby is about power, endurance and skills...those who are blessed at birth and those who strive to acquire that magic all their lives ...finding the right class, attitude and discipline makes the search a very real quest.
Sri Lanka needs inspiration on every level and we need our own brand of rugby that magical quality which defines our rugby on the Asian platform for starters.
The U18 and U20 boys have given us the luxury of two historic Asian 7s championships...which we build from and secure consistent form all through the grading process in Asia 2017 and performance eyes on the 2018 Commonwealth Games and beyond. We need protection for these young guns and professionals protecting and sharpening those natural skills to their max ...travel them to NZ for conditioning etc... invest in our 7s future and be proud of these young islanders.
I live for that day our flag rules the podium and Sri Lanka takes its place at the top ...bula bula to all the real fans who live and love the code ...blessings to all who believe!