The five-month long club rugby season will come to an end this weekend with the Dialog Clifford Cup final between defending champions Kandy SC and CR & FC.
Kandy will be favourites having won the league title with a week to spare, but face a CR & FC outfit that put up the biggest challenge against them – Kandy won both league encounters between the teams by slim margins. In the first round in Colombo Kandy needed a last minute try to edge out CR in a controversial encounter, 22 points to 16. The second round match, played in Kandy’s fortress in Nittawela, was closer as CR fisted away chances going down 15 points to 12.
The defending champions have had the easier path to the finals, having thumped CH & FC 89-07 in the first round, before taking out Navy SC in the semis, 37-27. CR on the other hand, had to navigate a harder course with fixtures – against Army SC (35-26) and league runners-up Havelock SC (34-27) – to get to the title game.
Kandy may be boosted by the return of their talismanic captain Fazil Marija, who was sidelined for most of the second round of the league recovering from injury. CR meanwhile, will be confident, as their young squad has grown in maturity this season, and have a real chance of adding to the 14 cup titles they have won in their history. Kandy has won the tournament on 19 previous occasions.
The game will be played at the Race Course grounds, on Saturday starting at 4:30 p.m.