Defending champions Royal and Isipathana will lock horns in the final of the league on 14 August at Havelock Park. Royal are attempting to make 4 in a row, while Isipathana will attempt to make a comeback after 6 years to regain the league which they last won in 2016.
This encounter will be played for the Maj Milroy Fernando Memorial Trophy and will kick off at 4 p.m.
Isipathana have won the trophy on 30 occasions to Royal’s 11. Four encounters ended in a draw and one game ended null and void. The first encounter was in 1986 which Isipathana won, and the last occasion was in 2019 – before the Covid pandemic – which Royal won.
Royal have been playing outstanding rugby this season. Their strength lies in their heavy set of forwards through their rolling maul. Full back Nabeel Yehya has been outstanding this season. His kicks to touch, safe collection and counter attack were a treat to watch this season. He joins the three-quarter line on attack which has put many opposition teams under pressure. He is a very good reader of the game. Kaveen Sasanga, Hasnaka Higgoda, Danuja Samanaratne, Abdellah Yousuf and Rahil Wijesekara are the other players to watch. The outfit is coached by Dushantha Lewke with Radhika Hettiarachchi supporting the three-quarter line.
Meanwhile, Isipathana lived up to their high standard, the school having produced the greatest number of national players. Their three-quarter line has dished out some excellent running rugby, and have remained unbeaten in the preliminary matches. Skipper Dahan Nithina Wickremarachchi, Sangeeth Kodagoda, Tharindu Wewalpanditha and Rinesh Silva are the lads who could see this game through for the Green Shirts. Isipathana is coached by Saliya Kumara, who is also the national Women’s sevens coach.
Young Ishanka Abeykoon, the former Nugawela Central player, has been entrusted to blow at this crucial encounter, which will decide the league champs.(Pix by Thepapare.com)
By Special Correspondent