Nilfer masterminds biggest shock in Rugby League | Daily News

Nilfer masterminds biggest shock in Rugby League

Action from the match between Police SC and Havelock SC
Action from the match between Police SC and Havelock SC

Saturday, January 21, 2023 will be a red-letter day in the history of Police SC rugby as they brought down a powerful Havelock SC outfit 21-19 to create the biggest upset in the 2022/23 SLR Nippon Paint Inter-Club League Rugby Tournament.

This encounter played at Havelock Park was also a memorable one for Head Coach Nilfer Ibrahim, who masterminded their great success after going through a series of defeats in their previous outings.

In fact, Police SC, went into this game as complete outsiders as they were lying at the bottom of the points table having recorded just a solitary win from their five matches.

In contrast, Havelock SC, were in a buoyant mood going into this game after having notched-up four successive victories and were also placed second in the points table.

But in a dramatic turn of events, Police SC brought their A-game for the first time this season to turn tables on the Havies during one of the finest displays of rugby in the current season.

“We played a more attacking game with our set of forwards and that was very crucial for us to have a good share of possession,” a jubilant Ibrahim told the Daily News yesterday.

Police SC scored three tries in this game through fly half Yohan Peiris, prop forward Shanaka Harischandra and Skipper Nisal Samadhi with the former converting all three tries. But Police SC Head Coach Ibrahim strongly believes that it was their dynamic full back Shane Hopwood who played the biggest role in inspiring the team towards success.

“I think, Hopwood played a grand game in his first outing for Police SC this season and he was a huge asset for us in gaining valuable territorial advantage,” Ibrahim emphasised.

In fact, Hopwood was a revelation for Wesley College during his famed Inter-Schools rugby career as a dashing centre three quarter and is now well set to take his game to another level.

Police SC Head Coach Ibrahim also commended the efforts of their place-kicker Yohan Peiris, who has turned out to be a key player with his conversions and penalties.

“Yohan has improved a lot this season with his superb individual contributions, and I am also happy to see players like Hashan Fernando and Amjad Faumy play to their true potential this season,” Ibrahim stressed. Peiris is also one of the top points scorers of the tournament with two tries, three penalties and 10 conversions from his six outings so far.

Nilfer, who has also experience of having coached the Sri Lanka Sevens Rugby Team, was proud of the Police SC forwards as they overcame the challenge from their more fancied opponents with a determined performance. “The second try scored by prop forward Harischandra was a beauty and this showed our capabilities and inspired the entire team to play their best game,” added Ibrahim.

This was Police SC’s first win over Havelock SC since 2019, where they won the first-round fixture 36-24 and the second-round match 34-28. 

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