By Asanka Gammanpila
Air Force will come out for the first time in the new inter-club league rugby season when they take on CR and FC at Longden Place today.
Experience forwards like former CH prop Jayantha Ranaweera will play for Air Force along with other seasoned hands Saumya Silva, Wasaba Senarath and Pradeep Kulakulasuriya who will challenge CR’s young talented players like number eight Shehan Pathirana, flanker Hasthika Bandaranayake and prop forward Nipuna Devinda.
In the back division CR has some talents like national cap Lasintha de Costa, Ashan de Costa and two new Zealanders, fly half Luke and centre Shabir.
The Air Force line is also strong with national cap and centre Charith Seneviratne, fly half Gayan Iddamalgoda and ex-national player Suranga Arunashantha who captains the side.
“We don’t care about the foreigners (in the CR team) we are hungry for victory”, said Arunashantha.
“Our target is to win the match by a 15 points lead”, added Suranga as he drew a comparison with his senior players.
Scrum half Madusanka Jayaratne and full back Asanga Perera will don the Air Force jersey for the first time.
From their last week’s starting lineup the Red Shirts ruled out their two ex Police players, centre Priyantha Ekanayake and full back Sajith Bandara for today’s game due to injuries. Their replacements are Duminda Nayakaratne and Heshan Gunaratne.
According to CR manager Rohan Chinthaka their only aim is to win the game.
Meanwhile Army will host Havelocks today at Diyagama.
On Sunday two matches are on the cards with defending champions Kandy meeting CH at Maitland Crescent and Police taking on Navy at Police Park.