By Shamzeer Jaleel
Sri Lanka ended their Asia Rugby Championship Under 19 losing all their three games and getting demoted to Division I in 2019. Meanwhile Singapore who won the Division I in Thailand 2 days back will be playing alongside Hong Kong, Taipei and Korea in the Top Division.
Sri Lanka who were a yard slower than the hosts, Taipei (15/17), Korea (26/29) were later on outclassed by the defending champions, Hong Kong (17/45) in the 4 team event.
Hong Kong beat Taipei 38/5 to claim a sixth straight title. This win also qualifies Hong Kong for the 2019 World Rugby Under 20 Trophy July 2019 in Brazil, in what will be Hong Kong%u2019s sixth appearance at the junior age grade world championships. Japan who got relegated from top division to Division 1 will also feature in the Brazil event next year.
After losing its opening game to South Korea, Hong Kong needed to win out with bonus points over Sri Lanka and Taipei. Ahead of the decider Hong Kong had to secure the bonus point and also to keep Taipei out of the bonus to clinch the title. Despite the imposing task, Hong Kong left no doubt of the result, with a five-try win as they grew a 21/5 lead at the break into a comprehensive 38/ final margin.
Sri Lankan coaching staff can give no excuse as they had ample time for the training sessions with the team being together well over 45 days for this tour. A few injuries before and on tour is always on the cards should be well prepared. A disappointing effort in defense cost Sri Lanka two games where they could have ended on the winning side against Taipei and Korea. Hong Kong came in to this event without 7 of their seniors still were able to claim the title in tandem for the 6th year.
Sri Lankan outfit was coached by Dushantha Lewke the present Royal Head Coach with Mohamed Mushtaq assisting him.
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