The Navy team was ranked second in Sri Lanka’s 2017-2018 Club League and has emerged league and ‘Clifford Cup’ champions on multiple occasions.
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However, coach Mothilal Jayathilaka is not ready to take the Doha challenge for granted and admitted that Doha RFC will be robust and no push over, posing a competitive challenge at their own backyard.
“Doha will be strong at home and after last week’s loss to Colombo they will be all fired up with a point to prove,” Jayathilaka said.
“They play a physical game and will want to dominate us especially around the ruck. That’s fine by us as long as we are firm in our game plan we won’t have any problems” he said.
“I understand we have a big following in Qatar and we will be using their energy as fire power. It’s important we not only entertain them but make them proud of us” the Navy coach added.
The Lankan Sailors will be the second foreign rugby team to compete in Doha this month.
Earlier this month, one Sri Lanka’s prominent teams, CH and FC toured Doha the crunch tie received a wide attention among rugby fans in Qatar.
Commenting on Navy’s visit to Doha and the rise of rugby in Qatar, Lion’s Media Executive Samuel Rico said: “This is a great result for Qatar, the DRFC, fans of rugby and the continued growth of international club relations. Many people and partners have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen”.
The pre-season match is the first for the SL Navy and second for Doha who are reeling off a close loss after hosting CH and FC on October 5.
Last year’s Sri Lanka League runners-up will be looking at going one better this year using the Doha match as a platform to the Dialog Premier League title.
Navy Chairman, Rear Admiral, Desapriya Hettiarachchi said he was looking forward to his side being tested by the top Qatar rugby club.
“This is an exciting trip for us. It’s an important game for both clubs and our future relations”.
“We expect a tough contest as we know Doha will not be easy at home. Our players will use their aggressiveness as inspiration to rise to the occasion”.
The top brass later praised Lions management who with the Doha RFC has worked closely to bring both teams head to head.
“The Lions RFC President, Nimo Amit and his team have been tremendous. Their dynamic energy and dedication to make this game and future matches a success is noteworthy.”
Club Secretary, Commander, Thusitha Abysundara reiterated the Chairman’s words and acknowledged the Sri Lanka Rugby Federation for their unwavering support.
“Being able to offer this historical game is thanks to the coordinated efforts of all involved, those in Qatar and Sri Lanka, in particular our Union whose role is just as vital as the commitment of our players to prepare and compete in Doha”.
Commenting about the team’s performance whilst travelling, team Manager Menaka Suranga said,
“Our national players will be available for this match meaning well be at full strength giving us the good chance to defend and maintain our away from home winning streak”.
Further details on the encounter can be found at www.doharfc.com.
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