Sri Lanka’s Tuskers dazzle as South Africa stun Fiji in Rugby Sevens | Daily News

Sri Lanka’s Tuskers dazzle as South Africa stun Fiji in Rugby Sevens

South Africa celebrate their victory over Fiji in the  Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens gold medal clash.
South Africa celebrate their victory over Fiji in the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens gold medal clash.

Sri Lanka’s Tuskers bowed out of the XII Commonwealth Games on a high after some sterling performances in the Rugby Sevens competition at the Coventry Stadium on Sunday. Fighting for 13-16 classification places, Sri Lanka’s men’s team spearheaded by Srinath Sooriyabandara dazzled against Zambia and Jamaica to the delight of the 30,000 capacity crowd at Coventry.

They began Super Sunday with an impressive 27-14 (10-7) win against Zambia in 13-16 semifinal 2 scoring five sizzling tries and one conversion while containing the opposition to two tries and two conversions. Kandy SC skipper and fly half Nigel Ratwatte crossed the line twice, while former Sri Lanka Sevens captain Dansha Dayan, Tharinda Ratwatte, and Buddhima Piyaratne scored one try piece with Mithun Hapugoda being successful with one of three conversions.

The Tuskers kept their best for the last in the men’s playoff for 13th place against Jamaica who had beaten Malaysia 28-7 and emerged victorious against Sri Lanka with a wafer-thin 26-24 win. Nigel Ratwatte kicked awry the conversion of Mithun Hapugoda’s try in the dying seconds of the match which could have taken the game to extra time. Sri Lanka virtually fought punch for punch as both teams scored four tries apiece in a heart-stopping thriller that raised the roof. Although having to play catch up with the Jamaicans, Sri Lanka were up to the task with their steps and darting runs to rattle the power-packed opposition. Nigel Ratwatte darted across the line with Hapugoda converting for Sri Lanka to draw level after Caton-Brown scored the first of his two tries. Radhika Hettiarachchi burst through on the right corner in reply to a try from Smith with Hapugoda making a superb touchline conversion for Sri Lanka to go into half with the scores tied 12-12.

Jamaica went ahead again 19-12 soon after the turnaround. Sri Lanka responded with a jinxing run by Hapugoda for Piyaratne to score under the posts. Nigel Ratwatte added the extra points for Sri Lanka to draw level 19-19. Jamaica scored almost with the restart but Sri Lanka hit back even as the clock ticked through another brilliant effort from Hapugoda but Nigel Ratwatte agonizingly missed the conversion but Sri Lanka had won the hearts and minds of the appreciative crowd. It was a perfect appetizer to the medal winning games which saw South Africa stun Olympic champions Fiji 31-7 to win men’s rugby sevens Commonwealth gold.

First-half tries from Muller du Plessis, JC Pretorius and Shaun Williams saw South Africa surge into a 17-0 lead. Du Plessis added a second after the break, and Mfundo Ndhlovu wrapped up a comfortable victory after Fiji skipper Waisea Nacuqu had managed a consolation effort.

Meanwhile, Faith Nathan scored two of Australia women’s four tries in their 22-12 final victory over Fiji. It was Australia women’s first rugby Commonwealth gold after winning silver on home soil on the Gold Coast four years ago. New Zealand claimed both men’s and women’s bronze, with Australia and Canada missing out on respective medals.

Scotland men had to settle for sixth after Samoa overturned a 19-14 deficit to win 24-19.

England beat Uganda 31-17 to finish ninth with Jamie Adamson claiming a hat-trick.

Sri Lanka’s medal prospects Indika Dissanayake (weightlifting) and Milka Gehani (artistic gymnastics) disappointed. Sri Lanka’s overall team captain Dissanayake failed in all three attempts (160kg, 161kg, 167kg) in the clean and jerk after lifting 133kg in the snatch in the men’s 73g weight class which was won by India’s Achinta Sheuli in a new Game Record of 313kg followed by Malaysia’s Erry Hidayat Muhammad (303) and Canada’s Shad Darsigny (298). Gymnast Milka finished 18th in the women’s All-Around final after failing to execute her moves. Australia's Georgia Godwin won gold in the event, with English teenager Ondine Achampong continuing her superb Games by taking silver.The bronze medal went to Canada's Emma Spence.

The only bright spark for Sri Lanka was Akalanka Peiris setting a new national record in the men’s 50m backstroke of 26.16 seconds despite failing to qualify swimming in heat six.


WOMEN Pool A: Australia bt Sri Lanka 21-2

MEN Pool A: Canada bt Sri Lanka 21-8


Playoff for 7th South Africa bt Sri Lanka 52-0 (33-0)


Pool B: *Clancy/ Maria (Australia) beat Deepika Bandara/Chathurika Weerasinghe 2-0 (21-10 21-12) MEN Pool A: Schacter/Dearing (Canada) bt Malintha Yapa / Ashen Rashmika 2-0 (21-13 21-12)

WEIGHT LIFTINGMen's 67kg 1 Lalrinnunga Jeremy (India) 300kg GR (140kg GR + 160) 2 Vaipava Nevo Ioane (Samoa) 293 (127 + 166 GR) 3 Edidiong Joseph Umoafia (Nigeria) 290 4 Jaswanth Singh Shergil 260 5 Chathuranga Jayasooriya 259 (119 +140)


Mixed Team Event - Quarter Final 1

Malaysia beat Sri Lanka 3-0

Mixed Doubles: Kian Meng Tan / Pei Jing Lai beat Sachin Dias / Thilina Hendahewa 2-0, Men's Singles: Tze Yong NG beat Niluka Karunaratne 2-0, Women's Singles: Jin Wei GOH beat Vidara Suhasni Vidanage 2-0 

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