Sri Lanka got off to a winning start to their HSBC Asian 5 Nations with victory over the Chinese Taipei by 39 points consisting of (5 Tries, 4 Conversion& 2 Penalties) to 08 of (1 Try& 1 Penalty) after leading 06 points to 03 at half time.
The match was played at the Havelock SC under hot weather conditions in Colombo. The game started off with both teams looking for early points with the home side threatening with some good play; however poor ball handling let them down at crucial stages in the first half.
Sri Lanka were presented with an opportunity to go ahead in the 7th minute but Rizah Mubarak’s penalty attempt fell just short of the crossbar. Mubarak made no mistake with his second penalty kick in the 24th minute to give Sri Lanka the lead as the visitors were spotted off side.
Chinese Taipei came back strongly into the game but failed to capitalize on some good forward play. They had the opportunity to draw level with a penalty in the 31st minute but Chih Pin Wang kick was off the target. Sri Lanka then doubled their lead in the 35th minute through a Rizah Mubarak penalty.
During injury time of the First half the Chinese Taipei reduced the deficit and earned their first points through a penalty by Chih Pin Wang as the home side was penalized for holding on.
The half Time scores stood at Sri Lanka 06 and Chinese Taipei 03. In the Second it was a completely different story as the home side finally took control of the game and dominated proceedings. The first try of the match came in the 42nd minute when Charmara Dabare scored after collecting an inside pass in the opponents 22 before slicing through a couple would-be defenders.
Rizah Mubarak Missed the Conversion and the scores stood at 11 points to 03 in favour of Sri Lanka. From there on it was one-way traffic as Sri Lanka were rewarded again in the 51th minute with their second try off a quick tap taken close to the Chinese Taipei line with skipper Yoshitha Rajapakse bursting through to score and the conversion successful by Rizah Mubarak.
Sri Lanka further increased the lead when their player maker Fazil Marija collected a chip kick by Rizah Mubarak and ran almost about 50 miters to score under the post in the 56th minute giving Rizah Mubarak an easy conversion to take Sri Lanka into a commanding 25 points to 03 lead.
Fazil who was having a great game scored his second and Sri Lanka’s 4th Try in the 61st minute when he charged down a kick close to the Chinese Taipei Ty line and scored under the post giving Rizah Mubarak another easy conversion to take the Home team’s lead to 32 points to 03.
Sri Lanka 5th and Final try was scored by substitute Sumedha Malawana who darted through his way after a 5 meter scrum from the visitors try line. Roshan Weeraratne with the conversion and Sri Lanka were sitting pretty as they lead by 39 points to 03.
Chinese Taipei managed a consolation Try through Chua Meng Chei in the 75th minute with Sri Lanka down to 14 players after Sathiya Ranatunga was sent to the sin bin for not releasing a tackler.
With the conversion missed, Sri Lanka ran away winners with the final score-line of 39 points to 08. Sri Lanka’s next fixture is against Thailand on 03rd April at 4.00 pm.