Proven Wesley vs Talented Vidyartha in K.O semis

Special Sports Correspondent in Kandy

Wesley, one of the most talked about teams, meets Vidyartha, a team you under-rate at your peril, in the semi final of the schools knock out tournament at the Royal Complex today.

Mursheed Zubair’s team started off literally on the wrong foot by losing their opening game against Kingswood 12-14. However, as the season progressed, they indulged in many giant-killing acts, toppling St. Thomas, Isipathana and St. Joseph’s. The win against Pathana was particularly impressive, as in that game they produced some of the best three quarter play seen this season. Kavindana Perera, the winger touched down four times in a spectacular display.

Zubair is one of the stand-out players among the Double Blues. As a full back, he collects well and has a very accurate boot. He provides inspiring leadership. Centre Erand Harshana is a skilful, dangerous player. Other outsides such as Tharindu Hemal, Theekshana Vithanage and Thanusha Jayaweera come together to form an exciting unit.

Experienced lock Dexter Gunatilleka, prop Dineth Diniya, Samuel Ogbebor and flanker Sritheysh Thararajah are some of the other players who are responsible for the team being where they are at the moment.

Vidyartha captained by number eight Kavishka Badara have been producing some very good performances that have made people sit up and take notice. They are not an ‘A’ Division side but are not very far behind. This is evident from their 22-19 defeat of St. Anthony’s and their 22 all draw against Zahira.

Centre Dilshan Kodagoda leads a very potent back division. He has scored a lot of the tries registered by his team. Winger Kasun Jayakodi was able to score two tries in the Zahira game. It would be fair to state that while the outsides have been in the spotlight, the pack has been responsible for setting up the opportunities.

Two ex-Vidyartha players, Kavindu Perera and Jason Dissanayake hot properties at CR and FC before shifting their allegiance were to the champion Kandy SC side.

Greater experience of playing at the top makes the Wesley side the more favoured one. However Vidyartha has earned a reputation for being a side full of battlers. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile.

Vidyartha (from):

Kavishka Bandara (capt), Tharindu Ratnayake, Rukshan Weerasinghe, Nalin Kumara, V. Kavishka, Kalhara Jayawardena, Tharindu Virodha, C. S. Dissanaike, Kaushika Kaluarachchi, Chirantha Kaluarachchi, Tatsara Kalugampitiya, Dilshan Kodagoda, Sampath Gunaratne, Kasun Jayakodi, Arosh Ratnayake.

Head Coach: Sumedha Malewana.

Asst. Coach: Danushka Pushpakumara

Wesley (from):

Mursheed Zubair (capt), Dineth Dinija, Zareen Ali Careem, Jessa Wijewardena, Dexter Gunatilleka, Samuel Ogbebor, Yohan Philipps, Sirtheysh Thavarajah, Ryan Samuels, Aaquib Thahir, Jenosha Mendis, Rigesh Muralidharan, Tharindu Hasith, Tharindu Hemal, Tharusha Jayaweeera, Eranda Harshana, Sahan Hansaja, Kavindana Perera, Theekshana Vithanage, Shehan Fernando.

Coach: Paul Toia

Asst. Coach: Dulanjana Wijesinghe

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