Joes hold slight edge over Kingswood | Daily News
2018 Milo President’s trophy schools knockout rugby semi-finals :

Joes hold slight edge over Kingswood

Sameesha Verangana (St Joseph’s College captain (on left) and Tharindu Waligampala (Kingswood College captain)
Sameesha Verangana (St Joseph’s College captain (on left) and Tharindu Waligampala (Kingswood College captain)

Defending champions St. Joseph’s College Maradana will get their 2018 Milo President’s trophy schools knockout semifinal campaign underway when they take on underdogs Kingswood College Kandy at the Sugathadasa Stadium today at 4.15pm.

The Joes head into this championship as overwhelming favourites having dominated this tournament in recent years. Kingswood has a reputation of giving the Josephians a hard time but if truth be told, the defending champions have dominated Kingswood

St. Joseph’s were given a hard time before winning their league match against Kingswood at Havelock Park 26-22. Kingswood has shown signs of improvement under consultant coach Ronnie Ibrahim winning five out of nine matches during their school’s rugby league finishing fifth.

Josephian head coach Nilfer Ibrahim who himself is a past Kingswood College rugby player expects a tough encounter for his charges and highlighted his opponent’s prowess on defence.

“They have a very good forward pack and a three quarter line and they are overall a very good team in schools rugby at the moment, so we’ve got a massive challenge on our hands and one that we are really excited about facing,” said Ibrahim. “We expect a very good fight from them and it will be a close game. I am confident St. Joseph’s will come out victorious in the end.”

The match is a historic one for Kingswood for if they reach the final it will be the first time they will have done it in a school knockout since 2005. Incidentally they won the championship that year. For Kingswood their young nippy scrum-half Hirusha Sampath (nephew of former Navy SC and Sri Lanka national player cum place kicker Nuwan Hettiarachchi now domiciled in UK) will be highly motivated to do well against the defending champions. Sampath is blessed with a vast array of skills and that along with his crisp service to his outside backs makes him a danger on attack. He’s also a superb goal-kicker and will not let his side down if he gets opportunities to take shots at goal.

Also there will be lots of pressure on young Kingswood fly-half Asiri Seneviratne when he takes on his Josephian counterpart Santhush Algama in what should be an exciting duel. Although still young Seneviratne has shown lashes of brilliance and his playmaking skills will have to be at their best if he wants to get the better of Algama, who seldom plays poorly.

Seneviratne is regarded as one of the game’s best attackers and will be hoping to continue where he left off against the Trinity College outfit in the quarterfinal last week at Nittawala where he dished out a sensational game with his running rugby scoring one of the best tries of the season.

“If it rains in the match day, then Kingswood will have the upper hand and they will come on top. Anyway as an old boy of Kingswood, I definitely want to see them winning and get into the final, but may the better team win,” said Ronny Ibrahim, the ex-consultant coach of Kingswood rugby team.

Kingswood College (probable team)Rashmika Chandrarathne, Pathum Milan Weerasinghe , Harshan Senavirathne, Ilham Jaleel, Avishka Poornajith, Shanuka Gedaragoda, Janitha Rajanayake, Tharindu Waligampala (Captain), Hirusha Sampath, Asiri Seneviratne, Deshan Walgampaya, Sachintha Seneviratne, Dananjaya Nuwan, Dinal Ekanayake

St.Joseph’s College (probable team): Shavon Gregory, Theeraka Santhusa, Sonal Damian, Cheka Jayawardana, Nimesh Kavinda, John Ganegoda, Shehan Kelaniyagoda, Tharindu de Alwis, Rasen Gunawardena, Santhush Algama, Tharindu Maduranga, Sameesha Verangana (Captain), Gamunu Chethiya, K.D.Kavinda, Dulanjana Piyathissa

Referee: Praneeth Weranga



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