Weer­aratne re­turns to Sri Lanka squad

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - BY HAR­SHA AMARAS­INGHE

Kandy scrum-half Roshan Weer­aratne who missed the Malaysian friendly matches, has returned to Sri Lanka fifteen-a-side squad ahead of their Asia Cham­pi­onship cam­paign in Chi­nese Taipei later this month. Weer­aratne was un­avail­able to the two games played in Malaysia due to per­sonal rea­sons, but has since trained with the na­tional team and the se­lec­tors have opted for his ex­pe­ri­ence leav­ing out Rahul de Silva who has been named as one of the stand­bys along with San­desh Jayaw­ick­rama.

The na­tional se­lec­tors have tra­di­tion­ally turned their back on the play­ers from the forces, es­pe­cially in the last decade or so. How­ever, the na­tional se­lec­tion com­mit­tee has shown their faith on wing three quar­ter Su­daraka Dikkumbura and fly­half Ashan Bandara who per­formed ex­cep­tion­ally in the last cou­ple of club seasons.

In fact Dikkumbura was able to bag a hat­trick against Sri Lanka’s first friendly match in Malaysia, and would com­pete for the place in the start­ing XV with Reeza Raf­faideen and Kavindu Per­era.

Per­era who re­cently sealed a move to his home-town club Kandy SC, is also one of the vice cap­tains of the team along with prop for­ward Ja­son Melder as num­ber eight Omalka Gu­narathne has re­tained the cap­taincy.

With Sathya Ranatunga be­ing sur­pass­ingly axed, Ja­son Melder looks a cer­tain starter while Ka­sun de Silva, Yakoob Ali and Charles Praveen would bat­tle for a spot in the front row.

Sa­muel Maduwan­tha ap­pears to be the first choice at fly-half with com­pe­ti­tion from

Bandara while Thilina Wi­jesinghe should start at full-back.

The for­mer St. An­thony’s cap­tain Dinuk Amaras­inghe who took his game to a whole new level dur­ing the last club sea­son is a clear starter at cen­tre, but the squad does not

in­clude an­other cen­tre who has played in that po­si­tion dur­ing the club tour­na­ment which means there is a pos­si­bil­ity of drag­ging Kavindu Per­era, Raf­faideen or Bud­dhima Pi­yarathne into cen­tre although they are tai­lor made wing three quar­ters.

The Sri Lanka 15-A-side Rugby Squad Pic by Damith Wick­ra­mas­ingha

Omalka Gu­narathne

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