Army gun down Kandy in their own den
Defending champs suffer first defeat after nearly three years; last beaten in 2016
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.