Rugby World Cup 2007 Asian qualifier
Rugby solace to Sri Lanka
Beat Kazakhstan 24 -12 to reach next round
By Shamseer Jaleel
While Sri Lankan cricketers lost their game to India yesterday the young national rugby team led by Sajith Malikkarachchi made Sri Lanka proud when they advanced through to the next stage of the Rugby World Cup Asian Qualifying match against the Kazakhstan by 24 points (1 goal, 1 try, 3 penalties, 1 drop goal) to 12 points (1 goal, 1try).

At the short breather the Lankans led 18-5. It was one of the best games witnessed in the recent times. The young “Lions” had not only to win the game but also to win by a margin of seven points after they lost the first round game in Almaty Kazakhstan 25-19 two weeks ago.

The forwards had an outstanding game where they contained their huge opponents. The home team scored two tries in the initial half against a disappointing Kazakhastan side who ran out of ideas and was guilty of going for the players instead of the ball. They were warned a number of times by the Japanese referee where the game went out of his control most part of the 80 minutes..

The home team was in an attacking mood right from the kick off. Though in the 8th minute of the game Full back Ajith Silva missed a difficult kick 40 meters out he was on target 2 minutes later with a 25 meter penalty to go up 3-0. But the physical Kazakhstan hit back soon in the 20th minute of the game through centre Galushkin Vladinar when winger Pradeep Liyanage failed to clear a pass from full back Ajith Silva. (5-3)

In the 24th minute of the game Sri Lanka scrum half Amjad Buksh was tackled and received a few punches from Galushkin who was red carded for the game. With this advantage the locals scored two quick tries. In the 30th minute of the game winger Pradeep Liyanage crashed through the defence to touch left corner. (8-5).

The other try was scored in the 40th minute of the game when speedy Sanjeeva Jayasinghe whizzed through the shell shocked Kazakhstan outfit to score far- right. Full back Ajith Silva added the extra points to take a good 18-5 lead at “Lemons”.

In the second half Ajith Silva added six more points through a penalty and a neat drop goal. In the 29th minute of the game the visitors cut the deficit through try scored by Chernke who also added the extra points (24-12). Full back Ajith Silva contributed 14 points to the home team.

Referee Shinji Aida of Japan
The home team will meet China in March 2006 in the next round in the hunt for place in the Rugby World Cup 2007 France.


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