St. Joseph’s College and Wesley College set up a semi-final showdown after both teams recorded convincing victories in their President’s Trophy Under-20 Knock-Out Rugby Tournament quarter-final matches played yesterday.
The ‘A’ Division League Tournament runners-up St. Joseph’s produced an excellent first-half performance before overcoming St. Anthony’s College 34-14 in the third quarter-final at the Royal Sports Complex in Reid Avenue.
In contrast, the Wesleyites had a tough first half as they managed a slender 5-0 lead at the interval before they cut loose in the second half to eventually beat Science College 38-0 in the fourth quarter-final played at Havelock Park.
The Wesleyites started the second half under tremendous pressure as they managed to score only a solitary try in the first 35 minutes of play through their wing three quarter Maleesha Thiranagama in the 23rd minute.
However, they made amends in the second half and added five more tries to their tally to come out victorious by a more convincing margin in the end.
The Wesley forwards completely outplayed their opponents and went over the line at regular intervals with their new halves combination of Shaveen Jayawardena and Shane Hopwood adding more variation to their style of play.
In fact, Hopwood, who replaced the more experienced Rigesh Muralidharan at the base produced a dazzling performance as he fed the three quarters quite beautifully, which made things much easier for the Wesleyites.
Hopwood set up Wesley’s second try shortly after the break as he sent Winger Rodrigo on the blind side for a superb try near the corner flag.
Few minutes later, the burly prop forward Hafiz Thabeeth simply brushed aside a couple of Science College defenders to fall over almost under the post giving Jayawardena an easy conversion.
This was followed by a similar performance from the Wesley flanker Chamod Nimsara and Hopwood himself executed a super dummy to score the fifth try in the 63rd minute. Skipper Tharusha Jayaweera then completed their smashing victory by scoring Wesley’s sixth try of the match on the stroke of full time.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s built up a commanding 26-7 lead at half time and eventually, ended up with three goals, two tries and one penalty.