Army gun down Kandy in their own den

De­fend­ing champs suf­fer first de­feat af­ter nearly three years; last beaten in 2016

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

It was a turn up for the books, an up­set of huge pro­por­tions as in­con­sis­tent Army played their hearts out to beat Kandy by 23 points ( a goal, 2 tries, 2 penal­ties) to 22 (a goal and 3 tries) at Nit­tawela.

The mag­ni­tude of this win will take a lit­tle time to sink in. as Kandy has not been beaten on their home grounds for many a year.

That the un­her­alded Army suc­ceeded in bring­ing down the cham­pi­ons is a feat wor­thy of much ac­claim. For Army’s coach Viper Guner­atne (him­self a for­mer Kandy SC player) this must have been one of the best days of his rugby life.

That some­thing sen­sa­tional was in the air could have­been sensed when the sol­diers led 15-12 at the break.

Isuru Medagedara put over a penalty and fol­lowed up by con­vert­ing Pra­bath Ku­mara’s try. Nalaka Madu­ranga touched down next to pile on the points for the sol­diers.

Dhanushka Ran­jan who had a su­perb game scor­ing two tries, was one of the play­ers who stood out for Kandy. Prop Ganuka Dis­sanayake also went over for an un­con­verted try. Thilina Wi­jesinghe had added the ex­tras with the first try.

Army’s reg­u­lar full­back Gayan Salinda came on late and cer­tainly made a dif­fer­ence by scor­ing the de­ci­sive try. He failed to put the icing on the c a ke. I s u ru Medaged­era added a penalty to make Army’s tally 23. Winger Su­daraka Dikkum­bura was out­stand­ing and it was a pity that he just failed to score.

Ran­jan scored his sec­ond try af­ter lemons but that went un­con­verted. Wi­jesinghe failed to put over Kandy’s last try scored by Wil­wara. Three of Kandy’s four tries were not put over. That ob­vi­ously made a dif­fer­ence.

In the dy­ing stages of the game, a Kandy player ap­peared to have touched down. How­ever, Ref­eree Sarath Madugalle did not al­low it, cit­ing a for­ward pass.

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