46th Mercantile rugby sevens Tournament 2016/17: Nilfer guides Access to Cup Championship


Access International bagged their 46th Mercantile Rugby Sevens title after a lapse of 16 years when they beat the favourites Dialog ‘A’ by 35 points (five tries, five conversions) to 12 ( two tries, one conversion) in the cup championship after leading by 14-12 at half time. The tournament was worked off at Longden Place.

This victory by the Access team is a fitting tribute to their head coach Nilfer Ibrahim who execute and inflict a superb brand of attacking rugby and dished out a fabulous player substitutions in the crucial moments of the game thus bringing this victory to his team ably assisted by Sri Lanka National Under 18 head coach M.J.M Mushtaq in the end.

In the second minute of play Dialog opened scoring through their fly half Dulaj Perera who scampered through for a try near the right corner flag off a beautiful three quarter move which he himself missed the conversion. Dialog ‘A’ led five points to Nil.

Within the space of two minutes Dialog ‘A’ scored again through forward Soyuru Anthony who dummied his way over to touch down for a try under the post after a well compiled three quarter move. Fly half Dulaj Perera made the simple conversion and they went into a hefty 12 points to nil lead.

In the seventh minute of play Access opened scoring when their scrum half Richard Darmapala sliced through the Dialog defence and darted down to score a fine try mid right and their Fly half Chanaka Chandimal slotted the conversion to cut down the lead to 12-7.

Just on the stroke off half time off a Dialog line out throw in their 22 metre line, the ball was collected by Access winger Danusha Dayan who burst through to touch down for a brilliant try under the post after covering nearly 80 metres .Chandimal made the conversion and Access were leading by 14 – 12 at lemons.

After the resumption Access went in to a further lead in the 19th minute of play off a maul by their dynamic forward Buwaneka Udangamuwa who gave a superb inside pass to his winger Kavindu Perera who scampered through for a try mid right. Chandimal put over the conversion once more to increase the lead by 21-12.

In the very next minute star national centre Danushka Ranjan collected the ball off a three quarter move and ran nearly 70 metres brushing off several Dialog defenders to touch down for a spectacular try under the post and Chandimal made no mistake with the conversion and Access went further ahead by 28 points to 12.

In the final minute of play Access worked their three quarters wide where winger Danusha Dayan collected the ball and sprinted his way over for a try mid right after covering close to 55 metres.

Chandimal who had a magnificent day with his boot made the conversion to have a 100% kicking record in this finals and Access International ran out worthy winners by 35 points to 12 in the end.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily News – Access International head coach the jubilant Nilfer Ibrahim said “The boys played their hearts out and we made the tactical moves accordingly, Especially the substitutions at the right time of the game and that really paid off in the end.

Last time we won this trophy way back in year 2000 which i was part of the winning team then as a senior player and after 16 years the fate was such that i was once again part of the winning team, but this time around as the head coach. So in the end i am really a happy man to have three major tournament wins back to back (Inter Schools league and knock out with Isipathana & Mercantile sevens with Access)” concluded Ibrahim.

The winning Access team comprised of Srinath Sooriyabandara(Captain), Wishvamithra Jayasinghe, Jason Dissanayake, Kavindu Perera, Chanaka Chandimal, Danushka Ranjan, Saliya Handapangoda, Buwaneka Udangamuwa, Kevin Dixon, Chula Susantha, Danusha Dayan and Richard Darmapala. Head Coach-Nilfer Ibrahim, Asst.Coach- M.J.M. Mushtaq

Irshad Cader refereed.

In the plate finals the gallant Nation Lanka Finance edged out the favourites John Keels ‘A’ by 26 points to 22 win the championship.

Meanwhile the formidable John Keells ‘B’ Thrashed Dialog ‘B’ 22-5 to win the Bowl Championship and Brandix won the Shield Championship when they thrashed Pan Asia Bank by 24 points to 7.

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