Sri Lanka proved their superiority at the Asian Under 20 Sevens rugby tournament by beating one of the Asian giants Korea 38 points to nil to runaway with the Cup championship in the final at Johor, Malaysia yesterday.
Incidentally Korea had beaten Asian heavyweights Japan 24-19 in the semi-finals to reach the final. Sri Lanka ousted hosts Malaysia 29/14 in the other semi-final.
In the final the Junior Tuskers carried out an excellent performance both in attack and defence which laid the foundation for this historic victory.
Sri Lanka opened scoring when Omalka Gunaratne picked up a loose ball and scampered his way to score the first try in the very first minute of play. Skipper Kevin Dixon made the conversion and Sri Lanka led 7-0.
Sri Lanka went further ahead when centre Nishon Perera touched down after a superb 60 metre sprint. Dixon put over the conversion and they went into a 14-nil lead.
Just before half time former D.S. Senanayake schoolboy Buddhima Priyaratne who played as winger darted down for a brilliant try and Dixon slotted the conversion to take Sri Lanka to a 21-nil at half time.
Soon after the interval Piyaratne scored another try but Dixon missed the difficult conversion and Tuskers led 26-nil.
Dixon then dummied his way over for a spectacular try but fly half Shamry Burah missed the conversion and the score read 31-nil.
The junior Tuskers sealed an empathic victory when replacement scrum half Vimukthi Rahula burst his way to score a try under the post. Burah made the conversion and Sri Lanka had recorded an emphatic 38-0 win.
It was the first time in the history of Sri Lankan rugby that the country had won a Cup championship final.
Sri Lanka suffered only one loss to Japan 14-19 on their way to the final. They had wins over Philippines 22-5, Thailand 31-5 and UAE 45-5.
Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera in his message of congratulations said, “I am really happy for the entire team for bringing this honour to the country for the first time in rugby’s one hundred year history.”
“We are a talented side and we only have to believe in ourselves that we can do it by beating big teams like Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. The boys executed the plans which we laid out with Inthi. The end result is we are the proud Cup champions for the first time in our rugby history,” said head coach Sudath Sampath.
Director Coaching (Strength and Conditioning) Inthi Marikar said, “I am really happy for the entire squad of players and the officials but the mission is not over for us till we win the second leg in mid-August. After that we will celebrate. Till then we have to be really committed and focussed on what we have to achieve,”. “The Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) didn’t support us and we sent the entire squad and officials on SLRFU funds.
The Sports Minister was a source of inspiration to us and he told a couple of days ago for the SLSRFA to work with us,” SLRFU president Asanga Seneviratne said.