CR and FC who are in a battle to save their season at this period of the year have been dealt a major blow with number eight Omalka Gunaratne set to miss the Clifford Cup Knock-Out Rugby Tournament opening match against Police Sports Club at the Racecourse Grounds in Reid Avenue on Friday (15).
The CR and FC Team Management revealed that the former Isipathana College Captain would be replaced by newcomer Risith Kawyaanjana in the third row along with Shemal Weerasekara and Wajid Fawmy.
Meanwhile, fly half Tarinda Ratwatte has been dropped in favour of veteran Chanaka Chandimal while Harith Bandara has been preferred to Rahul de Silva at scrum half.
Thisila Karunathilake would be paired with Gemunu Chethiya while Captain Kavindu Perera and Sri Lanka sevens player Reeza Raffaideen will provide pace down the flanks.
Police SC of course, claimed a thrilling 21-18 victory against the Red Shirts in their previous meeting.
But CR and FC looked a much settled side during the last couple of weeks of the League Tournament which has been the trend at Longden Place for some time now.
However, it’s time for the Cops to get back to work after clinching the League Plate title a few weeks ago and it would be a nightmare having to compete again without arguably their best player Emosi Vunivosa who is not eligible to take part in the knock-out tournament being an overseas player.
When the Fijian arrived in Sri Lanka for the first time towards the end of last year, the Police Team Management announced the signing of a ‘scrum half,’ but as the season progressed he proved to be too big to play as scrum half in the Inter-Club League Tournament.
Hence, Police SC as they do so often with the foreign players played him at every position in the backline, like they did with Apisai Naqaliva a few years ago and just like Naqaliva, Emosi had a huge influence in everything Police SC achieved during the league tournament.
Without any shadow of doubt he would be dearly missed in this game.
CR and FC: Himantha Hirushan, Supun Warnakulasooriya, Gayan Jayasekara, Joel Perera, Gayan Dilshan, Wajid Fawmy, Shemal Weerasekara, Risith Kawyaanjana, Harith Bandara and Chanaka Chandimal, Reeza Raffaideen, Gemunu Chethiya, Thisila Karunathilake, Kavindu Perera (Captain), Kevin Dixon.
Police SC: Dhanushka Edirisooriya, Lahiru Pavithra, Hashan Fernando, Nisal Samadhi, Mohan Wimalaratne, Vageesha Weerasinghe, Udara Sooriyapperuma (Captain), Udaya Sanjula, Primesh Danushka and Janik Chandimal, Irosh Silva, Gihan Silva, Vihanga Pivithuru, Janith Chandimal, Sachith Silva.