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Rugby

The game began amidst windy conditions as the Kandyans unusually conceded three penalties in the first ten minutes of the game. Although the soldiers had the opportunity to open the scoring, it were the Kandyans who drew first blood in the 16th minute when Dhanushka Ranjan sliced through the defensive line and sucked in defenders creating space for Richard Dharmapala to score out wide. Thilina Wijesinghe successfully added the extra two points. (KSC 07-00 ASC)

The soldiers made good use of their first half advantage, playing with the wind. Shehan Pathirana who made a crucial knock-on inside Kandy’s own half gave the soldiers an attacking opportunity. After some good hands, in the 29th minute, Sameera Bulathsinghala scored the first try for Army as he broke through the Kandyan defense to go over the line. Gayan Salinda added the extra two. (KSC 07-07 ASC)

Creating momentum from the try scored, Army took the lead for the first time, after converting a penalty to points in the 23rd minute. Playing with new-found confidence, the soldiers continued attacking the Kandyans taking hit after hit. Eventually rewarding themselves with a try in the 26th minute, Army extended their lead by another ten points. Manoj Bandara scored under the post for Army after sprinting away beating three defenders. Gayan Salinda made no mistake in adding the extras. (KSC 07-17 ASC)

Surprised by the Soldiers attack, Kandy felt the pressure of trailing but a few bad decisions and handling errors kept Kandy at the back, until Lavanga Perera scored a splendid try in the far corner, which Thilina converted, narrowing the gap to just three points at the stroke of half-time. (HT: Army lead 17 points to 14)

Coming into the second-half unusually trailing by three points, the boys from uphill hit back hard right from the restart. Kandy scored back-to-back tries in the 45th and 47th minutes, taking the lead. It was Gayan Weerarathna who scored first after fending and stepping away from four defenders to touch down beside the post. Thilina Wijesinghe added the extras. The big lock, Heshan Kalhara scored next, following his skipper and barging forward scoring Kandy’s fourth try. Thilina failed to add the extras this time around. (KSC 26-17 ASC)

The soldiers fought hard, but they could only manage to add another three points to their final total as Gayan Salinda bisected the posts after winning a penalty in the 57th minute. Kandy sealed the deal when Thilina successfully converted a penalty to points in the 67th minute. Holding onto their nine point lead, Kandy managed to defeat Army after a hard fought battle, inching closer towards an unbeaten Championship title.

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