By Spencer Leon
We are days away from the biggest rugby tournament in Sri Lanka, The Dialog Club A - Division Rugby Tournament organized by Sri Lanka Rugby and sponsored by Dialog Axiata PLC, This year 8 teams as usual will participate over 16 weeks with the team scoring the highest no. of points will take away the dialog league 2019 / 2020, The participating teams Kandy SC Defending Champions, Last year runners up Havelocks SC, CH & FC, CR & FC, Police SC, Army SC, Navy SC and Air Force SC. For the bottom 4 teams are entitled to fill in one overseas player. Points system will be 5 points awarded for win, 3 for draw, lose 0, BP - teams scoring 4 tries or more 1 point and losing team by 7 or less margin 1 point.
Teams will play each other over two rounds home and away with the top 4 finishing teams at the end of round / 2, week-14, will play for the dialog cup in the super league round while the bottom 4 play for the dialog super league plate, points will be as same in round 1 and 2. For the tournament this year, they have introduced a new card like the usual Red and Yellow, Blue card for concussion
This year as well Kandy SC will be the favorites captain by Nigel Ratwatte and coached by Fazil Marija. They will be without the service of Dhanushka Ranjan who is recovering from injury but have signed home based players Tharindu Ratwatte and Kavindu Perera from CR & FC. Kandy SC have been dominating local rugby over the past years but this year could see two to three teams closly matched with the champs. Last year we all saw how Havelocks SC came by a whisker of taking away the title but in the end Kandy manage to hold on and win at the park.
Which team can take the fight towards the champs. CR & FC is a team to watch and are most likely to take up the challenge with the champs.
They will be led by their dynamic No. 08 Omalka Gunaratne and have signed some crucial players and school boys. Their line is good as Kandy SC and could cause a threat but it was their front 5 that led them down last year. Dushantha Lewke takes up coaching duties for the Longdon place club.
CH & FC is another team fast improving year by year. Led by Rohitha Rajapakse they will have mix of players both experienced and youth in their squad. They will depend heavily on their forwards. Viper Gunaratne will be their coach.
Last year runners up Havelocks SC will be without most of their experience players who have crossed over to other clubs and led by Mithun Hapugoda. It will be interesting to see how they perform after losing almost half their squad. They will be coached by Sanath Martis who is regarded as one the best coaches in the country at present. Can Martis find his old magic and produce the results he got last year.
Police SC is another team to watch captain by Shanka Harischandra and coached by Asanga Rodrigo, They have retain the services of last year overseas player Emosi Vunimosa.
Army SC will be coached by Radika Hettiarachchi with Matthew Lee taking charge of Navy SC while former Peterite and Havelocks SC scrum half Leonard de Zilwa will be in charge of the Airman. Ranuka Madagedara will captain the side.
All in all we wait to witness one the closely contested rugby season.
With the best of luck to teams, coaches, officials, not forgetting the sponsors Dialog Axiata and Mr. Harsha Samaranayake
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