Second round week 13 of the Dialog Rugby league clash between the hosts Army v Police was won by the visitors with a 27 (T4, C2, P1) – 18 (T2, C1, P2) at the Race Course this evening.
The second half was not that exciting as the first, where the honours were even with both teams trying to make points. Army had the positive start they wanted with an early lead through a penalty from inform Gayan Salinda’s boots. No sooner Army won a penalty off a collapsed scrum, Absal Mohamed taking a quick tap and scoring with individual brilliance. Salinda missed the extras. (Army 08 – 00 Police)
Visitors looked a new unit with Musheen Faleel (Center) and Pium Jayasinghe (Wing) in the starting line up from CH&FC who withdrew in the second round. Also Radeesha Senaviratna(CH) and Rajitha Samaranayake (Sharks) came from the bench for the Cops.
Epi Cocanasia the Army center being off side left the opportunity to Eranga Weerakkody to add the first blood but the kick went wide. Two minutes later Weerakkody had another attempt due to a similar incident by the Soldiers. This time it was a successful kick. Epi became vulnerable as he went high on Pium Jayasinghe as a result he was asked to sit in the naughty chair for ten minutes by the referee Dinka Peiris. (Army 08 – 03 Police)
Cops with a man advantage came charging in to the opposite red zone. Quick ball from Sudam Sooriarachi to Richard Lawson who sent wide to Apisai Nagaliva who bulldozed his way to an under the post try. Soon after restart once again Police in the opposite 22m, Lawson passed long to skipper Hashan Gomes in the wing who scored the second try. Weerakkody made no mistake in both the conversions. (Army 08 – 17 Police)
Five minutes to half time Weerakkody was sent to the sin-bin. Police made the counter attack and Epi crossed over for a try from Afzal”s long pass. Sudam Sooriarachi made a stunning 60m run but his off-load found Army defence and Apisai dived on the loose ball in the try line but the referee recalled for a knock-on.
Half Time – Army (T2, C1, P1) 15 – Police (T2, C2, P1) 17
The intensity level was so down after the break and Army body language did not seem to be optimistic. They did not have someone to lead despite Absal doing acting captains work. Also missing Sanivalti Ramuwai and Pio Tuwai as they have gone back to Fiji. Instead Jalesi Liwa Liwa & Rasavulu Aporasa being debut without much time spent in the island.
Apisai was scoreless in the previous three outings. What a game he had in the second half; he was everywhere at times involved in the rucks and playing as a half back and as a first receiver often. Samantha Lakshan was out for this match or he could have been the better partner at 10 and Apisai at 12 & Faleel at 13. However, Apisai proved he can score at any given time with Musheen’s pass he came like a hungry cheetah chasing a dear and he was too fast for the Army defense. (Army 15 – 22 Police)
Army went left to right and right to left but they were unable to cross- over. Romesh Archarige infringed at the ruck and that made the hosts to narrow the deficit in to 4 points by Salinda’s penanlty kick. Filimoni Seru almost scored a try from a pick and go in the ruck 5m away from try. Dinka Peiris did not allow as for instant it felt like a pop up on Seru’s first attempt.
Police went strong in to the opposite half and Army just lacked energy in defense. Inside the Army 22m Police had a penalty, captain Gomes opted a quick tap and sent it wide to Apisai who scored the bonus point and also his hat-trick. Weerakkody missed both the conversions and also he was lucky enough to escape from his second yellow card which will be a red after going high on Absal.
Full Time – Army (T2, C1, P2) 18 – Police (T4, C2, P1) 27
ThePapare player of the match – Apisai Nagaliva (Police)
Referee – Dinka Peiris
Referee Asst. – Irshad Cader / D.Nimal