By Asanka Gammanpila
A third row forward, Tongan born New Zealander Palatasala Palupe has been enlisted by CR and FC ahead of their traditional match against Havelocks in the inter-club league rugby championships at Longden Place today.
The match is played for the Langlev Mathiasz shield.
Today’s game has no room for fancy play from both sides as they are still unbeaten and victory is a must.
Havelocks won their last three encounters against Police, Army and Air Force while the Red Shirts maintained their unbeaten run beating Air Force and Army. Last year CR beat the Park Club (15-10) but lost in the return game (25-24).
Both sides boast of a good set of forwards, but Havelocks will have to keep their eyes on CR’s three-quarter line which has a New Zealander in fly half Luke Muggeridge who is very quick on working the ball to all corners.
The match is of special significance to prop forward Henry Terrance, fly half Niroshan Fernando, lock forward Ashen Karthelis, winger Chamara Dabare and full back Mohamed Sheriff who have crossed over to Havelocks from CR.
Havelocks centre Chamara Vithanage is out of the game with an injury sustained in their last week’s match against Army and his place will be taken by Thusitha Samarathilake. Scrum half Amjad Buksh is doubtful due to injury while Rizwan Meedin has been put on stand-by.
“After three games our combination is now set and up to the mark and we want to give CR a hard time”, said Havelocks captain Henry Terrance.
CR have made some changes with Shameer Thajudeen and Hafiz Noor to play as props while Prasad Chathuranaga will be the hooker.
Former Police player Gamunu Indrachapa who is better at hooking has been shifted to the number eight’s berth. Palatasala Palupe and Saajith Suhaib are the flankers.
In the backline skipper and centre Lasitha de Costa has been shifted to the winger’s berth while ex Police centre Priyanatha Ekanayake will be back after recovering from a nose injury.
“The game will be tough as they (Havelocks) have a few of our (former) players. But our new foreign player and the rest are in the right frame of mind”, said CR skipper Lasintha de Costa.