The Sunday Leader

Top Six Schools Teams Gear For Rugby Knockout

Milo Schools Knockout Rugby tournament

Last week saw a fitting finale to a very exciting and competitive inter-school rugby season and now the attention shifts to the hugely popular schools knockout tournament featuring the best teams in the country.

Six of the very best schools rugby teams will be seen in action in the Milo President’s Trophy Knockout Rugby Tournament which will be held at the Royal Sports Complex from today till July 12.

Unbeaten league champions Royal, league runners-up and last year’s knockout champions Isipathana, Trinity, Science – the most improved team this year, St.Peter’s and D.S.Senanayake are the six schools which are in the fray for the coveted trophy.

If this season’s performances were anything to go by, then almost all teams are evenly matched and the team that plays best on the day is the side that’s likely to triumph. Royal College will no doubt go out as favorites and deservedly so after they remained unbeaten throughout the season but they will face fierce competition from Isipathana and arch Bradby rivals Trinity who will be smarting after two defeats this season.

Science College had by far their best season this year and could be the dark horse of the tournament, whilst the Peterites will want to prove that they are a better side than their final league placing indicates.

The tournament lost one of its exciting teams when St.Joseph’s College who were placed sixth in the ‘A’ Division League, pulled out from the tournament citing injuries to their key players. The Josephians had turned in some gallant performances and even gave champions Royal a big scare.

The Plate trophy winners Wesley College and runners up St.Anthony’s College Kandy too have indicated their inability to take part in the tournament.

D.S.Senanayake who were placed third in the Plate Tournament, will thus get the opportunity to take part in the President’s Trophy. Science College Mount Lavinia will confront St Peter’s College in the curtain raiser of the tournament at the Royal Sports Complex today (June 28) while tomorrow, Trinity College Kandy will take on D.S.Senanayake College at the same venue.

League Champions Royal who have drawn a bye, will take on the winners of the Peterite – Science game in the first semi-final at the Royal Sports Complex on July 4.

League Runners-up Isipathana who too have drawn a bye, will meet the winners of the Trinity – D.S.Senanayake match in the second semi-final at the same venue on July 5 with the finals scheduled for July 12.

Norman Kannangara, Assistant Vice President of Nestle Lanka PLC speaking at the press briefing said that Nestle Lanka is honoured to once again sponsor the President’s Trophy, Premier Trophy and Chairman’s Trophy knockout rugby tournaments this year. The highly acclaimed President’s Trophy tournament was expanded in 2007 to include a Premier Trophy Tournament with the aim of giving more teams the opportunity to showcase their talents.

The next year, in 2008, the Chairman’s Trophy was launched with the intention of giving some of the lesser known schools the opportunity to compete at the same level.

“ Milo and SLSRFA’s partnership had gone from strength to strength over a period of 23 years and we are confident that this year’s tournament will produce rugby of a high standard as in previous years,” said Kannangara.

The President of the SLSRFA Ranjith Chandrasekara observed that with the participation of most of the top schools teams -Royal, Isipathana, Trinity, Science and St.Peter’s  – the fans are assured of some exhilarating, high quality rugby.

He also thanked Nestle Lanka PLC for coming forward to sponsor this tournament for the 23rd year which has helped to uplift the standard of Schools Rugby.

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