24th December 2000
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A Taiwan player in possession of the ball while Sri Lankan players try to grab it. A momentous move in the Sri Lanka Vs Taiwan match which Sri Lanka won 26-8. Pic by J.Weerasekera 

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Lanka on way to Chile 

Enters the upcoming Youth World Cup finals with a momentous win over Taiwan in the fifth Under-19 Rugby Asiad 
By Jatila Karawita
Sri Lanka created history in the annals of local rugby when they booked a berth in the upcoming Youth World Cup finals with a momentous 26 points ( one goal, two tries, and three penalties) to 8 (one try and a penalty) win over Taiwan in the fifth Under-19 Rugby Asiad tournament for third place play-off match worked off at Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.

'It was a great performance by the entire team, each and everyone performed up to expectations, and rallied round to deliver the goods' was how an ecstatic Sri Lanka's Under 19 skipper Jeewan Gunathileke described his team's victory over Chinese Taipei to The Sunday Times.

Asked whether they expected to win it so easily before the game Gunathileke replied in the negative and commended Taiwan for giving his team a fight till the home side cut loose in the second half.

By virtue of this victory the hosts finished third in the 11 nation tourney and also earned the right to make their debut at the Youth World Cup Rugby finals in Chile in April next year.

' I do not believe in signalling out players in rugby.

For me this is team spirit and I can say the key to our success was team work and unity' summed up Gunathileke while applauding the services of team coach Ananda Kasturiarachchi and manager S W Chang. Following a shaky start the Sri Lankan juniors gained the ascendancy to force their opponents into error.

The forwards led by No 8 Mario Oorloff were always a threat and hounded the ball to no end as they set the pace to force the Taiwanese into making desperate moves and blunders. After a keenly contested first half Sri Lanka went all out in the second half and took control of the match.

The game swung both ways until mid-way in the first half before fly half Dave Wijewardene's try signalled a wonderful Lankan show.

However it was Taiwan which scored first when fly half Lin Pai Shen obliged with a 30 metre penalty in the second minute of the game. Five minutes later Sri Lanka found the equaliser through a Dave Wijewardene penalty. Sri Lanka went into the lead in the 14th minute when half back Mohammed Tharique scored the first of three Lankan tries to make it 8-3.

But Sri Lanka's joy was short lived as prop Chen Lin scored an unconverted try to make it 8 all in the 17th minute of the game. Three minutes later Dave Wijewardene scored a superb try to make it 13-8 a lead which they clung onto till the lemons.

The latter half totally belonged to the home side as they added another 13 unanswered points to run away with the game. But Taiwan made some threatening moves early in the second half before Wijewardene fired across his second penalty in the 17th minute. Eight minutes later came the best try of the game.

Fly half Wijewardene broke off in the Taiwan 35 before full back Tisal Jayawardene received an inside pass. He then powered to score under the posts completely unchallenged. Dave added the extra points before putting over a neat 30 metre penalty to round off a fabulous evening for Sri Lanka rugby. To the credit of the Taiwanese it must be noted that they fought a bitter battle in the second half threatening to score on more than once but they lacked finish. - Referee- Eric Boardman. 

\S. Korea came in with game plan

South Korea, one of the power houses in Asian rugby, gave credence to their status in breathtaking fashion when they pulled off a pulsating 25 points to 24 win over arch rivals Japan under flood-lights in the Cup final of the Under 19 Rugby Asiad at Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.

Korea who went in as underdogs thus managed to clinch the Asian Junior Rugby Championship for the third time having once being adjudged as joint champions with Japan in the five-year history of the competition. 

The win fashioned out by diminutive scrum half Kim Jung Do who stole the thunder from the Japanese with a brilliant individual display (four tries) was described by skipper Park Sum Kyu as feeling like 'fine' to Sunday Times.

"It feels like fine to have beaten Japan," blurted out Park Sum Kyu, adding,

'We felt before the match that it was going to be our day.

Our team peaked at the right moment in the tournament and I am delighted with the effort of my boys' said Park Kyu with the help of a English translator. He was overcome with emotion soon after receiving the coveted rugger ball shaped trophy from Minister of Sports Lakshman Kiriella who graced the final as Chief Guest.

Asked to comment further on his team's grand success in the Cup final against overwhelming favourites Japan, Park Sum Kyu said they had prepared well in advance for the Junior Asiad and had come up with a game plan to counter the Japanese in the final.

'Our management knew that they (Japan) had weight and height to their advantage and to counter that we decided to use our speed and guts to the hilt.

Finally it worked for us and scrum half Jung Do and No 8 Lee Kwang Moon led the onslaught in the final' said Kyu who hails from Seoul South Korea.

Commenting on the performance of host nation Sri Lanka who, thanks to their win over Taiwan, qualified for the Youth World Cup to be held in Chile in 2001 the Korean skipper was of the view Sri Lanka has potential to go into the International arena.

Sri Lanka led by flanker Jeewan Gunathileke edged out Hong Kong (15-12) and stretched fancied Korea (15-0) and Japan (29-10) respectively in their three league fixtures (J.K)

Lakmalka powers Negombo 

By Bernie Wijesekera
The Segment B limited-over championship final between unbeaten Negombo CC and Chilaw Marians proved to be a grand finale to the Year 2000 cricket season.

Negombo CC who have won eight matches in-a-row to remain unbeaten scored a thrilling two wickets win with three balls to spare in the last over,thanks to a power-packed 32 n.o with two sixes and two fourrs by allrounder Lakmalka Fernando.

Chilaw Marians - 207 in 47.3 overs (Saman Thittagalla 71, Nawan Priyankara 48, Praneeth Jayasundara 28; Lakmal Fernando 4 for 45, B. Fernando 2 for 37, C. Croos 2 for 31)

NCC - 209 for 8 in 49.3 overs (Mevan Fernando 50, C. Croos 14, Kasun Bulathsinhala 27, Lakmalka Fernando 32 n.o; N.A. Perera 3 for 17, P. Jayasundare 2 for 42)


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