Kandy is the best
Air Force Vs. Kandy Youth
(Kandy Youth won 26-25)
In a close game the much improved Kandy Youth team beat the Air Force in the Plate Championship avenging their defeat in the first round. They play Navy this week in Kandy and this should be a close game.

Note: Unfortunately the 2nd Leg of the Bradby and the CH/Kandy game clashed with the CR/Police and Army/Havelocks games but scores and reports convey my earlier views.

CR & FC Vs. Police
(Police won 14-13)
As I said before the Police are now playing exciting rugby and will be a strong force to reckon with in the Knock-out tournaments. Their forwards are their strength. With more games, the Police three quarters will improve. They need to understand how to read a game and play accordingly. Sudath Sampath is a good reader of the game but he comes in as a replacement generally. Harsha Wijeweera is shaping up well.

Army Vs. Havelocks
(Army won 41-28)
Another good game with an improved performance from the Havelocks. These 2nd Round matches have so far been hotly contested with the exception of the Kandy Sports Club games. Havelocks need more quality possession. Getting over the 'gain-line' is priority. Securing possession and ending up behind the 'gain-line' results in teams going back! They must use possession to go forward. The CH/Havelocks should be a thriller.

Navy Vs. OZSC
(Navy won 30-22)
A close call for the Navy but a fine performance by OZSC. Navy should be at full strength, I am told, for their game against Kandy Youth. A number of interceptions by OZSC upset the Navy who were caught napping. The Navy needs more replacements as at present they posses very few knowledgeable players.
It is left to Senior Officials in the Navy to ensure that quality players are recruited - like in the Army. I am confident that this will boost Navy rugby. At present their forwards are adequate but three quarters are lacking.

Kandy Vs. CH & FC
(Kandy won 51-5)
It was a crushing defeat for CH and an excellent win by Kandy. As I said before, Kandy is the best team in the League Tournament. Their forwards are strong and fit whilst their three quarters are adequate in play but are also fit. Their three quarter play has to improve - there is a lack of fluency in their play except when Nalaka Weerakody joins the line. This lad gives thrust to the threes. In the past three games he has shown commitment and concentrates much more - keep it up. For the CH, a woeful story.

They missed chances of scoring in the first 15 minutes and thereafter more or less gave up! I noticed that the CH were short of options during play. Their threes were tackled in their stride. At the outset the CH decided to put the ball up and follow. This did not pay off.

Shrewd Kandy coach C.P. Abeygunawardene switched Weerakody to wing and Radhika Hettiarachchi to full back time and again but CH continued aimless kicking. Game plan for CH was stereo-type and they did not vary their play.

K.V. 'Roses' stole the limelight
The women's rugby exhibition match between Kelani Valley 'Roses' and Anuradhapura Swarnapali Balika preceded the Caltex 'A' league match between table leaders, and defending champions Kandy SC and CH&FC at Nittawela last wekend (Sunday).

The little girls from K.V. though small in stature, have picked up the skills. They ran the ball at every given turn to bemuse their opponents. The A'pura girls, too played well despite taking to this manly sport last year.

Rugby is fast catching up in the North Central Province, thanks to the encouragement given by the Army Maj. Dhammika Gunasekera and S. Liyanage and of course its Principal Mrs. Ratnayake helping.

The women's section of the Army stationed in A'pura, Capt. Tilini inspired them. According to Coach Nimal Wijesiri, the girls have shown marked improvement since last year. PTI Mipagala has been handling the squad and does the physical training. They are keen and are prepared to learn, said Wijesiri.

In contrast K.V. 'Roses' has been in the scrum for some time. They are assisted by Arjun Dharmadasa who is also the chairman of the rugby development committee.

The girls are afforded with a district tournament. Today it's a popular sport in Sabaragamuwa (both boys and girls). There are eight clubs formed playing competitive rugby at district level. (B.W.)

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