Quo Vadis Rugby
By Vimal Perera
The 2005 rugby season is going on in the hands of a new administration. Navy playing CR and FC kicked off the Caltex League tournament. The administrators are in the right direction; playing the B division match prior to the commencement of the A division game. Are the clubs ready to accept this change? In the first match played on Friday, the 22nd, the red shirts had only thirteen players on the field. On Saturday and Sunday the B division matches were not played The clubs allege they were informed, late, of the decision to commence the tournament along with the A division matches. Western Province Rugby Football union which runs this tournament needs to get organized if the constituent club is to think that those in charge are doing something meaningful. On the other hand there are club representatives in the WPRFU who should have taken the message to the clubs.

Without proper communication it is difficult to expect change to be accepted. The possibility is this tournament will not be played on the day of the A division game, as clubs seem to be finding it difficult to get adequate numbers. We are talking of at least forty four players. Why is this hard in a country that boasts of a number of schools that play the game and have five active provincial unions? The SLRFU information window on the IRB site boasts of 25 clubs , 45200 pre-teen male players, 44000, teen male players 2625 Senior Male Players giving a total of 91,825 . Two thousand six hundred and twenty five senior players in 25 clubs are an average of 105 per club. Australia has 148,750 registered players and New Zealand has 121,927. So who is not doing his job in Sri Lanka with so many players around?

It all seems to be a number filling game and an exercise to mark their presence as is seen happening in the recent past. Yet another event for the records was the under 19 sevens tournament played recently. This was an event organized by the Western Province Schools Rugby Football Society. This was an event which was badly organized with players being taken to Wellawatte to Reid Avenue and to Longdon Place in search of a ground. Finally the game got under way when the CR ground was released after completion of the mini rugby practice that was going on. I presume it created a great impression in the minds of the Mama's and Papa's who were waiting to take their little ones home. That was not the end as there were no referees present as the Referees society was not informed. The game got off and the organizers seemed happy as there was someone in the middle with a whistle in hand.

Who is this Western Province Schools Rugby Football Society? Are they a part of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Society or The Western Province Rugby Football Union? Whoever it is, they must act more responsibly in allowing tournaments to be organized where children are involved. Imagine a situation where a serious injury happens? Who will be held responsible? The SLRFU should take note as they as the governing body can be held responsible. There seems to be many off-shoots in the field of rugby, whose legitimacy must be questioned by the governing body.

Another talking point during the week was the presence of ex Police Sports Club players representing some of the other clubs. It transpires that the police have initiated disciplinary inquires against some of the players on grounds of misconduct. While the inquiry is on they have joined other rugby playing clubs. Anything to achieve your objective should not be the attitude of responsible people. The action today can lead to growing indiscipline as players who have disciplinary charges against them will join other clubs. What has happened to the tradition of asking for clearance from the player's former club? Indiscipline may be deep-seated in our culture, at present. However social responsibility should lead to setting standards worthy of a sport which has a proud history,

For information copied below are two paragraphs from the IRB playing charter.
"Apart from the playing of the game and its ancillary support, Rugby embraces a number of social and emotional concepts such as courage, loyalty, sportsmanship, discipline and teamwork".

What this Charter does is to give the game a checklist against which the mode of play and behaviour can be assessed. The objective is to ensure that Rugby maintains its unique character both on and off the field.

"It is through discipline, control and mutual respect that the spirit of the game flourishes and, in the context of a game as physically challenging as Rugby, these are the qualities which forge the fellowship and sense of fair play so essential to the game's ongoing success and survival Old fashioned traditions and virtues they may be, but they have stood the test of time and, at all levels at which the game is played, they remain as important to Rugby's future as they have been throughout its long and distinguished past. The principles of Rugby are the fundamental elements upon which the game is based and they enable participants to immediately identify the game's character and what makes it distinctive as a sport".

Quo Vadis Rugby Sri Lanka?


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