Show-less CR play like babes

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Home favourites CR and FC played like strangers to a rugby ball as they quite deservedly lost 18-21 to an Army team that merely stuck to the basics and capitalized on the many lapses of their host in their second round inter club League match at Longden Place yesterday.

As a team that should have played better rugby on the run, CR could only lag behind almost every time the ball came the way of their backs who seldom went up to the high-ball that Army gave them even on the bounce. And like teams in most matches this season, CR played their best rugby in the final minute of play only to realize Army had secured the contest thanks to the lethargy of their hosts.

If Army had one rival player to specially thank it would have been CR’s winger Nalin Kumara who was penalized by referee Dinka Peiris for deliberately taking the ball away from where it crossed the line depriving Army from a quick put-in.

Army ran the penalty ball almost through an open defence from mid-field for winger Kavinda Perera to put the finishing touches by scoring near the goal posts for an easy conversion by Gayan Salinda and a crucial 13-8 lead ten minutes before half time.

Army could also not have asked for a better occasion than score what became their match-winning try 12 minutes before the end when Mohamed Akram barged over at a time CR were reduced to 14 players after second rower Ishan Noor was sent out with a yellow card.

The scores read 21-18 and a desperate CR even decided against spot-kicking a penalty within range ten minutes before the end that may have drawn the encounter after Nalin Kumara fumbled with a penalty earlier that could have stretched the lead at a time CR led 18-16.

Army drew first blood with a penalty by Gayan Shalinda in the opening minutes of play, but CR went ahead 5-3 ten minutes later when prop Shane Sammandaperuma crossed the line to score.

But Army cut down the lead 8-6 and three minute later scored their try on a platter through Kavinda Perera that was converted to take the lead 13-8.

Army lost the lead just before half time when CR’s New Zealand centre Billy Ropiha went over the line for Nalin Kumara to convert making the scores 15-13.

Nalin Kumara put CR in the lead 18-13 with another penalty in the second half but Army’s Gayan Shalinda reduced the margin 18-16 with his third kick at goal before Mohamed Akram scored the unconverted match-winner for Army.

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