Isipathana takes on ‘revenge-seeking’ Joes in rugby finale | Daily News

Isipathana takes on ‘revenge-seeking’ Joes in rugby finale

Isipathana Captain Daham Mithila (left) and St. Joseph’s Skipper Teran Karunanayake (Pic courtesy
Isipathana Captain Daham Mithila (left) and St. Joseph’s Skipper Teran Karunanayake (Pic courtesy

St. Joseph’s will look to bring an end to Isipathana’s dominance in the President’s Trophy Knock-Out Tournament when the two teams clash in the 2022 Under-20 schools’ rugby finale at the Royal Sports Complex on Sunday.

This final has a great amount of significance for both teams as the ‘A’ Division League champions Isipathana are in line for a grand double while St. Joseph’s are out to avenge their previous defeat at the hands of the same opponents.

On that occasion, Isipathana survived a fierce late rally before pulling off a thrilling 16-13 victory over St. Joseph’s in the League Tournament Super Round fixture played at Havelock Park.

And if the Joes could repeat that second-half performance on Sunday, then Isipathana will have a real game in their hands and could well struggle to regain the Trophy since their heroics in 2016.

But so far, Isipathana have remained as the team to beat this season and they have performed their task in their own style of play to emerge as the kings of schools’ rugby this season

However, St. Joseph’s could draw some inspiration from their 2017 final where they created history by winning the President’s Trophy for the first time with a 19-13 victory against Isipathana at the same venue.

The Joes, of course, will need to come out with even a better performance this time having survived a huge scare in the semi-final game where they edged out Wesley 16-13 during extra time.

On that occasion, St. Joseph’s were able to stage a remarkable comeback and win a thrilling contest, but this time they cannot afford to put even a foot down against their formidable opponents.

This final could well probably be decided on the performances of the forwards as possession will play a key factor for both teams before they set the launching pad for their backs to add the finishing touches.

The Isipathana ‘pack’ have performed this role quite effectively throughout this season and they will look to retain possession most of the time with some outstanding players in their ranks.

Hooker Venura Kodagoda has proved his skills on more than a couple of occasions with his beautiful breaks from the loose while second row forward Soorya Dodangoda and Wewala Pandith are dangerous players when they are in attack.

Isipathana will also welcome the return of their regular Skipper Daham Mithila, who missed last week’s semi-final against S. Thomas’ College due to an injury.

Meanwhile, the key player for St. Joseph’s will be their playmaker and Number Eight Naveen Marasinghe but a lot will depend on how their halves combination of Vihanga Randeepa and Dilhara Subash perform under pressure.

The teams (Probable)

Isipathana: Senuth Dinusara, Venura Kodagoda, Kavin Tharusha, Soorya Dodangoda, Kenula Mihisara, Wewala Pandith, Nisanja Dunith, Daham Mithila (Captain), Sehandu de Costa and Naveen Kanishka, Praveen Stephan, Sonal Sansoni, Chamindu Chirath, Rinesh Silva, Shahid Zumri.

St. Joseph’s: Jehan Athukorala, Chamod Seneviratne, Ishan De Soysa, Sachintra Lanka, Janith Marasinghe, Minidu Pathirana, Sachinthana Vidyana, Naveen Marasinghe, Vihanga Randeepa and Dilhara Subash, Randika Dahanayake, Mandara Amarasekara, Rahel Jayawardena, Isuru Kanchana, Teran Karunanayake (Captain). 

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