The physical and psychological conditions of the First XV rugby teams of arch rivals Royal and Trinity will be comparatively identical when the first leg of the prestigious Bradby Shield takes place next Saturday at the Royal College Sports Complex.
This is the 68th edition of this pace setting traditional clash.
Despite claiming to be superior to their rivals Royal, the current Bradby Shield holders Trinity have suffered a defeat against St. Peter’s in the ongoing Schools League Rugby season.
But they recorded some good wins under their belt against Science, St. Anthony’s, Isipathana, Vidyartha and St. Joseph’s.
Defending League Champions, Royal on the other hand have won all their tournament matches, against D.S. Senanayake, Vidyartha, Science, St. Joseph’s, St. Anthony’s and Kingswood but had to work more than hard to achieve them.
Both teams have played against similar opponents but the winning styles have been vastly different.
Royal coach Bilal Yousuf sharing his views on their chances on winning the Bradby first leg in Colombo stated that they are comfortable to go out as underdogs for many reasons.
On Saturday (9) Royal beat St. Peter’s while Trinity bounced back to emerge victorious against Kingswood.
“This season the pressure on our players has been too much. We have not honestly played up to our potential yet we are unbeaten in the league tournament. We know the fact that both teams at the Bradby have the capacity and potential to exhibit their true fighting ways. Our players know how important this game is for us and they are keen to put out a good show. At the same time I believe all our 15 players to fire up on that day. We know that Trinity has a good side and at the same time we know their ins and outs. But we are focusing more on our strengths. We want our boys to enjoy the occasion and let the result take care for itself,” pointed out Yousuf.
Talking of Trinity’s fortunes at the Bradby Yousuf’s one-time Sri Lanka Youth coaching staff partner Nilfer Ibrahim who is now caring for the opposite camp revealed that for the first time this season Trinity will field its full team.
Trinity has been to expectations this season so far and will be looking forward for a win in the first leg with their balanced outfit as this encounter is also a tournament game.
“We know how important the Bradby is for players of both teams. Our boys have been performing up to their potential and with a full team available for the first leg; we will look to gain maximum advantage over it. Though we intend to treat the first leg as just another game, the players will obviously take the game a bit seriously. Our forwards and three-quarters are well balanced though we are a young side. We are expecting to win both legs and retain the shield in Kandy,” Ibrahim said.
Last year Royal who won the first leg by 33-25 under the captaincy of third-row-forward Shehan Pathirana, then they also went on clinch the League Championship with an unbeaten record.
But Trinity led by hooker Murad Ramzeen turned tables in the second leg played in Colombo to record a stunning 40-5 victory thus winning the Bradby Shield with an aggregate of 65-38.
The second leg will be played at Pallekele in Kandy on June 30.