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CR favourites, but Kandy SC has the fire power

Mariks from Kandy
A thrilling game of rugby is in store for rugby fans in Colombo when the defending league champions Kandy Sports Club meet CR & FC in their first round inter-club Caltex trophy rugby game which will kick off at 4.45 pm today.
Both teams are unbeaten, and have an equal number of points, but Kandy SC is heading the table on their overall scores.

This season’s achievements of both teams go to make this grand game an attractive one with both teams packed with the country’s top players.  The big question now is will Kandy SC repeat their last year’s performance?
The outcome of this encounter should be anyone’s guess but before that there’s much more to relish from a rugby fanatic’s belief.  But then again who would know even pundits could be proved wrong.  Going by the capabilities of both sides almost anything can happen. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on past results when assessing the game between these two sides or for that matter any two sides as any team can be a different entity when they play against their arch rivals.  It is hoped that conditions will permit the two teams to indulge in the brand of fast open rugby for which they are well-known. 

The ‘Red Shirts’ are blessed with a stamp of rear invincibility this season.  They achieved what they promised in the league, up to this game.  It will not be easy for the ‘Red Shirts’ as some may think.  Much, it seems, will depend on their forwards who are experienced and tactically good players.  Kandy SC’s pack too has been sound.  If CR can find the extra speed necessary then Kandy SC’s task will be made harder. 

There are striking similarities in the style of play of both teams: hard working forwards foraging for the ball, winning it, and giving it back to speedy three-quarters and then backing them up in attack.
 CR undoubtedly takes the field as favorites after doing so well in the last couple of games.  Anyway Kandy SC, who have been king makers in the game in the last couple of years has the fire power to come out of any attack. It may be here that the game is won or lost. CR’s half-back combination of Buksh and Sariffodeen has been one of the brightest features of this season’s rugger.  They have perfect understanding and a penchant for the unorthodox - and if a move works it can well be a match winner. Unless Saliya and Faisal are able to hit it off smoothly they will be at the mercy of their opposite numbers as well as those rampaging flankers, Pavithra and Ashen.

CR’s forwards are well matched.  Skipper Anuradha, Danushka, Senthil, Ashen, Pavithra and Navin are conspicuous for their hard work and agility in line-outs. Their three-quarters; Sheriff, Ravindra, Ashan and Dinesh are good runners and have produced their best making many a good opening. In skipper Jeewa, Dushan, Damika, Dilip Kandy SC too has a set of fine forwards. Imran and Buddhika. These players form a heavy pack and prefer a game of close mauls.  So much will be expected from them.  Kandy’s threes, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe the fastest in the game, Pradeep, Faisal, Sameer, Jabar and Nalaka too should give a good running display.

Kandy SC - Jeewa Galgamuwa (Captain),  Buddhika  Walpola, Krishore Jehan, Imran Bastamin, Senaka Bandara, or Sumeda Jayayasinghe,  Sean Wijesinghe, Dilip Selvan, Dushantha Leeke,  Saliya Kumara and M.Faisal,  Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Pradeep Liyanage, Mohamed Jabbar, Sameera Siva,  Nalaka Weerakody.
CR & FC - Danushka Boteju, Senthil Kumra, Henry Terrence, Anurudha Dharmatilake (Captain), Gavin Fernando, Ashen Karthelis, Pavithra Fernando, Navin Wijetunge, Amjad Buksh and Omar Sariffodeen, Dinesh Kumara, Mohamed Sheriff, Lasintha de Costa, Ravindra Wekadapola, Ashan de Costa.

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Perfect b’day present for Malagamuwa

Dilantha Malagamuwa received a perfect birthday present when he drove his Porsche 996 GT3 to victory in round 4 of the Asian GT challenge at Sepang F1 circuit on June 24.

Malagamuwa’s main rival was Spaniard Luis Monzon in his Ferrari. From the start Monzon took the lead and by the second lap he was 7 seconds in front of Malagamuwa. But with every lap Malgamuwa gained ground and by the seventh he was only one second behind.
“I knew that he was getting nervous because he was not concentrating in the front but watching his back mirror, and he made a mistake. I over took him in lap eight and he stopped. After that I slowed down because the second and third was not to be seen,” said Malagamuwa.

“I finished first, Francis Tjia of Netherlands was second and Siu Tit Lung of China third. I was so happy that I got the best ever birthday present. The whole circuit cheered for me specially the Sepang F1 circuit officials and the commentator gave so much publicity for me and for Sri Lanka. I wished some officials from Sri Lanka were able to watch this scene,” Malagamuwa stated.

“I almost cried when I got down from the car for everyone was cheering, but none from Sri Lanka. When I was on the podium after I was presented with my trophy the officials and my engineer Vince brought a birthday cake to the podium. What else can you have in life on such a great day,” he said.
This was Malagamuwa’s first victory for Porsche and for Michelin tyres because in the past two years Ferrari and Pirelli have been dominating. “Michelin was so happy and all Porsche drivers wanted me to join them for the rest of the season but I don’t think I will be able to do so because right now I only have Hayashi as my sponsor. Already he has done so much for me,” said Malagamuwa.

“The other best thing was that Monzon’s team manager came to me and said they were thrilled with my driving and asked whether I would like to join them for the Daytona 24-hour race in USA next year. He said to me a guy from Sri Lanka had come and beaten them in style and he was not aware that motor sports existed in that country Sri Lanka,” Malagamuwa continued.

“It will be really good if I can join Mastercar Italy for Daytona because they are one of the top Ferrari teams in Italy. They are really nice people. I will try to do my best at least to do one more race in the Asian GT challenge this year,” he said.
In the round three Malagamuwa took second place to Monzon but did the fastest lap time.

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Vithanage in dire straits following ban

By Ravi Nagahawatte
Kandy Sports Club has begun to show concern over the future of its rugby star Chamara Vithanage who is serving a two year ban from rugby.
Iswan Omar, General Manager Kandy Sports Club, told The Nation that Vithanage is likely to be in dire straits because he solely depends on what he earned from rugby for a living. “The ban is a terrible blow on the player,” said Omar.
According to Omar, Vithanage takes care of his grandmother and sister from the money he earns by representing Kandy Sports Club. Vithanage was suspended by the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) which ratified a ban recommended by a rugby disciplinary committee. The disciplinary committee recommended the ban after probing an incident in which Vithanage assaulted a referee.
Omar said that Kandy Sports Club would not contest the ban slapped on Vithanage. “We support SLRFU’s efforts to instill discipline. After all this is a private matter in which the club is not involved. It is up to the player to decide what future action he should take,” said Omar.
Kandy SC will be minus their star winger in the club’s all important match against CR&FC, scheduled for today in Colombo. However, Omar said that Kandy Sports Club would not feel the absence of Vithanage because the team boasted the services of an experienced three-quarter line which comprises national players. “His absence will not affect the performance of the team. But we will sadly miss him,” said Omar.
The SLRFU decided to suspend Vithanage despite a court case against the player still pending. It has been reported that Vithanage’s case will be taken up for hearing in the Kandy Magistrate’s Court on August 31. The SLRFU appointed disciplinary committee found Vithanage guilty of assaulting the referee at an inter-school match where he was a spectator.

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Jayasuriya shines for Lancashire

Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya’s all-round effort saw Lancashire beat Durham by 39 runs in a Twenty20 Cup cricket match played at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
Jayasuriya scored 32 out of a first wicket stand of 81 with man of the match Mal Love (89) as Lancashire totalled 180-4. Then took control with the ball. His teasing left-arm spin paralysed Durham’s middle order, as he finished with 4 for 24 in 3.5 overs. Durham was dismissed for 141 in 16.5 overs.

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Federer steps closer to fifth title

LONDON (AFP) - Roger Federer took another confident step closer to a fifth successive Wimbledon title on Friday as Centre Court fell in love with an eyebrow-pierced, Russian literature-loving Serb called Tipsy.
Federer defeated former world number one Marat Safin 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to register his 51st grasscourt win in a row and will now face experienced German Tommy Haas, who put out Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov, for a quarter-final spot.
But if the Swiss is the undisputed king of Centre Court, then Serbia’s unheralded world number 64 Janko Tipsarevic was prince for a day when he knocked out Chilean fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 8-6.
His reward was a place in the last 16, where he will meet Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero, who put out American ninth seed James Blake in four sets.
Frenchmen were also on a roll on Friday with Richard Gasquet, injury-plagued wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Paul-Henri Mathieu all making it to the last 16.
American Andy Roddick came back from a third set 2-5 deficit to beat Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
In the women’s draw, top seed Justine Henin eased past Russia’s Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-3 to book a clash with 15th seed Patty Schnyder for a place in the quarter-finals while Serena Williams, the 2002 and 2003 champion, crushed Venezuela’s Milagros Sequera 6-1, 6-0 in just 44 minutes. She goes on to meet Daniela Hantuchova.
Martina Hingis, the women’s champion in 1997, saw her 2007 campaign end on Court Two, the graveyard of the champions, when she was knocked out by unseeded American Laura Granville 6-4, 6-2.
Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova managed to seal quick wins before the rain returned. Defending champion Mauresmo dominated her third-round clash on Centre Court, beating Mara Santangelo 6-1 6-2 and Sharapova came through a tricky second set to beat Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-3 on Court One.
In stark contrast to the quickfire wins of Henin and Williams, two other women seeds endured marathon third round outings.
Third seeded Serb, Jelena Jankovic, battled back from a set down to beat Czech 25th seed Lucie Safarova 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and now faces French 18th seed Marion Bartoli for a place in the quarter-finals.
But Russian eighth seed Anna Chakvetadze was knocked out, losing 7-6 (10/8), 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 to Dutch 31st seed Krajicek, the sister of 1996 men’s champion Richard. Henin has never won Wimbledon although she has come agonisingly close, losing in the 2001 final to Venus Williams and falling at the final hurdle again last year against Mauresmo.

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Wimbledon hit by sneak thief

LONDON (AFP) - Wimbledon stars have fallen victim to a sneak thief who has made off with thousands of pounds in cash and personal property, it was reported here on Saturday.
One major theft has been reported in the men’s locker room while players and coaches are concerned it is the latest incident in a mini-crimewave which has plagued the tour all year.
Former French Open champion Albert Costa, who coaches Spanish compatriot Feliciano Lopez, had a bag stolen containing 1,700 euros and 1,000 dollars in cash at the All England Club, the Daily Mail claimed.
French player Michael Llodra has also had his wallet taken even though he was only away from his locker for 30 seconds.
The problem has infuriated players and coaches some of whom feel one of their own must be responsible.
“We are aware of the incident and we have told our staff in the locker room to be extra vigilant, but it is difficult with so many people in the area. It is up to the player concerned to inform the police,” said a Wimbledon spokesman.
There have been a number of thefts from the changing rooms at events around the world this year. Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman reported personal effects stolen at both the Australian and French Opens while the Daily Mail claimed that at last week’s Wimbledon qualifying event at Roehampton, Dane Kenneth Carlsen had his watch stolen and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut his iPod.
The biggest single theft is believed to be the loss of 5,000 euros suffered by Czech player Radek Stepanek, the fiance of Martina Hingis, at the Monte Carlo Open in April.

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Shah inspires England win

LONDON, (AFP) - Owais Shah blazed 55 from 35 balls as England beat West Indies in the second twenty20 international at the Brit Oval Friday to level the two-match series 1-1.
As they had on Thursday, England’s run chase was hampered by the regular loss of wickets, but this time their target was not so challenging and they found enough contributions to see them home.
West Indies was restricted to 169-7 with Chris Gayle (61) and Marlon Samuels (42) being their main scorers.
England coasted home with three balls to spare scoring 173-5.

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Schools rugby blown offside by new rule

By Sammidha Kalmith Rathnayake
It seems as if the problems of the Sri Lanka School’s Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) aren’t over yet.
The Nation learns from a reliable source in the association that a recent court order will bring changes to the present practice of permitting students to represent their school at sports despite not completing the GCE O/L examination in the first sitting.
This is bound to have a marked effect on sportsmen in schools who do not have the full requirements to follow the A/L classes. Earlier the laws of the SLSRFA gave the green light to players who were sitting the GCE O/L for the second time also. But with the recent court order, the association has taken a decision to change that rule.
From next year onwards students sitting the O/L exam for the second time will not be permitted to remain in school and represent their school at sports.
“The schools rugby association took the necessary steps to notify the Education Ministry of the court order. We are waiting till the circular comes into our hands but we are not sure when we will be getting it. It may be a matter of a few days and who knows, it may take a few months even,” an official of the association said.
When the rule comes into force, most of the schools are definitely going to be badly affected.
“We are definitely against this rule,” one top official from a leading rugby playing school said. “Schools will lose many talented players at an early age and in the long run the country’s rugby future is also in danger because of this rule,” he said.
This new rule is most likely to be approved by the Ministry in the near future and will be implemented from next year onwards.

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Cricket great Waugh to address Socceroos

SYDNEY, (AFP) - Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh will address the Socceroos before their final Asian Cup warm-up game in Singapore Saturday.
Waugh will spend three days with the Australian squad after accepting an offer from coach Graham Arnold and Football Federation Australia to mentor the team ahead of the July 7-29 tournament, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
Waugh, who was a schoolboy representative footballer before becoming one of Test cricket’s greats, will speak to the team’s leadership and coaching staff and will be part of the inner sanctum for the match with Singapore, the report said.
The former Test skipper, who has also been co-opted by the Australian Olympic Committee as a team liaison member for next year’s Beijing Olympics, will address a handful of players one-on-one and pass on his experiences of touring and dealing with pressures and expectation, the newspaper said.
Team officials believe Waugh can play a key role in preparing the squad mentally and helping them to stay focused for the Asian Cup.
The newspaper said Waugh will advise players and officials on how to handle Southeast Asia’s oppressive conditions and how to deal with growing expectations and media interest.
Waugh earned a reputation for encouraging his cricket team to engage with and enjoy the countries they played in, particularly on the subcontinent.
He is expected to address a leadership group believed to include English Premier League stars Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer and to speak with others who have taken on leadership roles since last year’s  World Cup in Germany.
The Socceroos embark on their first Asian Cup campaign against Oman in Bangkok on July

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Tendulkar passes 15,000 ODI runs

Scorers of most runs in ODI

15,043 - Sachin Tendulkar, India (387 matches)
12,063 - Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (395)
11,739 - Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan (378)
10,880 - Sourav Ganguly, India (294)
10,405 - Brian Lara, West Indies (299)
10,395 - Ricky Ponting, Australia (280)
10,265 - Rahul Dravid, India (318)
9,378 - Mohammad Azharuddin, India (334)
9,284 - Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka (308)
9,144 - Jacques Kallis, South Africa (260)
9,038 - Adam Gilchrist. Australia (268)

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsmen to hit 15,000 runs in one-day international cricket as India beat South Africa by six wickets on Friday.
India reached 227 for four with five balls remaining. Tendulkar scored 93 and Yuvraj Singh 49 not out to go with his 3-36 in South Africa’s 226-6.
The result tied the series at 1-1 with one match to go on Sunday.
Tendulkar pushed a single off Andre Nel to reach 15,000 and his 79th half century.
‘’It is satisfying, a wonderful moment,’’ Tendulkar said. ‘’It’s obviously a happy feeling, especially when we ended up on a winning note. But, after playing for 18 years, I feel it’s just one of those things.’’
Tendulkar hit 13 fours and two sixes and shared an opening stand of 134 with Sourav Ganguly (42). The Little Master was finally bowled by Thandi Tshabalala and finished with 15,043 runs in 387 ODIs since his debut at age 15 in 1989. Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya is second on the list of all-time one-day scorers with 12,063.
For the second successive match, Tendulkar was out in the 90s in the middle of a mini-collapse as India lost four wickets for eight runs. But Yuvraj and Dinesh Karthik (32 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 85 to see India home without further mishap.
Opener Morne van Wyk scored 82 and Mark Boucher hit an unbeaten 55 to help South Africa set India a modest target.
After a four-wicket defeat on Tuesday, India needed to win the match to keep the series alive, and made changes to the lineup. Mahendra Singh Dhoni returned in place of Gautam Ghambir and India gave an ODI debut to 18-year-old pace bowler Ishant Sharma for Rohit Sharma, no relation. South Africa brought in offspinner Tshabalala for promising allrounder Vernon Philander. After Jacques Kallis lost the toss, however, his batsmen were in early trouble.
De Villiers and Kallis were both back in the pavilion inside six overs as South Africa slumped to seven for two. When Herschelle Gibbs, still struggling for form, hit a long hop straight to cover, the Proteas were 46-3.
Van Wyk, on his return to Northern Ireland where he played club cricket in 2003, adapted to the slow pitch and played well under pressure to hit a career-best 82 in one-day play from 126 balls _ with seven fours and a six.
He received good support from Jean-Paul Duminy (40 off 59 balls) and, after Van Wyk’s dismissal at the end of the 41st over, Boucher scored a run-a-ball 55 to take South Africa to 226-6.

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