Royal target record, Trinity hungry for success | Daily News
75th Bradby Shield 1st leg at Pallekelle in Kandy

Royal target record, Trinity hungry for success

Royal and Trinity will be eager to draw first blood when they lock horns in the first leg of the 75th Bradby Shield inter-school rugby clash at Pallekelle today. Kick-off is at 4.00pm. Former Sri Lanka captain Mike de Alwis will be the chief guest.

It will be a celebration of a moment in time as Royal’s captain of 1982 Ted Hiran Muttiah put it when the blue riband of schools rugby heralds the resumption of major sporting activity following a two-month hiatus caused by the Easter Sunday attacks.

The expectations will be no less despite preparations being disrupted in a high stakes battle where form and experience may be of little relevance when it is game on.

There is very little to choose between the two sides because of the lack of competitive rugby for the past two months.

Royal may have a slight edge because they have lost only one game to St. Peter’s against Trinity’s two losses and are aiming to create history by winning the Bradby for the fifth consecutive year.

Even home advantage would count for nothing for Trinity who may have greater hunger and determination to wrest back the shield from Royal.

“There is always pressure for the Royal team to win because of high expectations especially because during the last two years we have been league champions and we have won the Bradby for the last four years,” said Royal’s coach Dushantha Lewke in an interview with the Daily News.

“But the pressure is only there for good teams. No one puts pressure on teams that are not expected to win. We are looking at it very positively,” said Lewke downplaying their tag as favourites.

“I wouldn’t say in this year’s version of Bradby we are favourites because I know Trinity College, Kandy is a very strong side and they have 11 players who have played a Bradby at some point which is far more than what we have. Both teams are equal and Bradby is always very keenly contested,” said the former CR and FC and Sri Lanka captain.

“During the break, we couldn’t get the whole squad together during certain days because of curfew and some boys not being able to train and things like that. I think it affected us also a bit. But from last Monday we have got the team together and trained from that day onwards. Come 1st you can’t give any excuses. You have to be ready to play,” declared Lewke, who has been part of Royal’s coaching staff for the past seven years.

“I think our strength has always been with the forwards. Having said that to win a Bradby it takes more than being one-dimensional. I think we will have to play a little bit of a balanced game. On the day we have to be ready to play what is in front of us and to adapt to the kind of strategy that Trinity will also be trying to bring,” he said.

“We are still looking at what the best halves combination and also the best front row we can take to the game. There might be one other change in the back row,” he added.

Royal skipper Thulaib Hassen said the break had come as a blessing in disguise to overcome injuries.

“It will be a tough Bradby because expectations will be high being the 75th year. We are confident of playing to our strength. We have a well-balanced side,” said Royal’s crack centre three quarter who has been a part of three Bradby winning teams.

Trinity captain Reeshan Bandaranayake seems to have the perfect recipe for success – The hunger to win.

“We are confident of going into Bradby. Everyone is determined. We are definitely going to win. We are hoping to get a good start in Pallekelle before moving onto Colombo. We are lucky to be a part of it (75th Bradby) and are trying to do the best we can,” he said.

Trinity coach Inthi Marikar said it was almost as if they are starting a new season. “Training got interrupted with this whole issue but it affects everybody not only us,” he said being philosophical of expectations.

“To be honest I will be lying if I say there is no butterflies before the Bradby. In this job or any game as a coach, there is pressure. There is only so much you can do. You have guided them through the week but you can’t play,” he said stressing the key to success would be to get processes right.

“We have a side with experience but some guys are playing a Bradby for the first time. If they can take the learning to the field, that’s the main thing on Saturday and also concentrate on getting the processes right rather than looking at the outcome,” said Marikar, a former Director of High Performance at Sri Lanka Rugby.

“We have a sort of balanced side. I wouldn’t say we are strong either in backs or forwards but we have some good runners. The forwards also have pace,” said the former Trinity, Kandy, CR and FC and Sri Lanka full back shrugging off home advantage.

“It is there but it will be of no use if we are not going to play to our pattern,” he said.

Teams:

Trinity (from) - Reshan Bandaranayake (captain), Dhirendra Ratwatte (vice captain), Nimesh Ekanayake, Neranan Vitharana, Dulanjith Nethwara, Lenox Calyanaratne, Mahdhi Abdullah, Yashwant Mecan, Chetiya Pananwela, Tehan Karunanayake, Miranga Subasinghe, Amith Kulatunge, Harsha Samarasinghe, Tevin Karunanayake, Geeshapa Kulatunge, Poojana Kulatunge, Shakiya Senanayake, Janidu Ratnayake Tidas Thanthirage, Rahul Danaraj, Damian Tennekoon, Duvindu Herath, Pabasara Munasinghe, Thammuditha Dodantenna and Zayd Faizal

Royal (from) - Thulaib Hassen (captain), Dilshan Jayah, Mohamed Nawran, Vehan Manthila, Viren Gajanayake, Samdhi Induruwa, Nipuna Yasojana Induruwa Ilukpitiya, Viren Gajanayake, Samdhi Induruwa, Nipuna Yasojana Pasindu Gunasinghe, Rajindu Jayasuriya, Fadhil Adhan, Janendra Nanayakkara, Lahiru Thilakaratne, Kevin Samarasinghe, Achintha Radeeshan, Rdesh Wijeratne, Avishka Kelegama, Kaveen Sasanga, Migara Mihisanka, Raveen Shenuka, Abdul Rahman, Avin George and Mohamed Abdullah

Referee: Aaqil Jamaldeen

TMO: Anil Jayasinghe


 

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