Rugby pride and prejudice
During the last week end it was the Sevens. The "Sevens in Colombo" too was won by Kandy Sports Club. The topic of discussion immediately following the final and that spilled on to the next day were the composition of the national squad.
What came to my mind as I heard the comment ' I don't agree with the squad" was the role each has to play. When a team is put together for a building construction it includes, may be, the carpenter, the mason, the plumber the painter, the engineer and possibly the project manager. Each has a job to do and a role to play. They do it so that it fits into the over all plan drawn possibly by an architect helped by an engineer and with the support of a quantity surveyor. When a project manager is appointed to do the job, if the carpenter and or the mason want to have his say and or the mason wants to comment on the work of the carpenter, the engineer or the designer there will be confusion.
|CR beat Kandy at once, but then went into the oblivion - Pic by Ranjith Perera
This is what I thought as I heard the opinion expressed to the new coach on selection by somebody who has a different role. Possibly the Sri Lankan way of complaining always and to a new comer specifically who has come from abroad. End result the job is not done and the people coming possibly get involved in areas what is not theirs. Are they to be blamed or is it the Sri Lankan to be blamed? Sometimes I do wonder whether some want to impress. Impress with their knowledge of rugby or to show that they can speak in English with a stammer and many Ahs and eehs.
What gives hope is that the Kandy club has consented and the boys are at practice. I hope this is a full stop and not a comma as I hear of whispers and exchanges.
Leaving aside irritants that always surface let me get back to the Sevens in Colombo. Kandy proved they were overall superior in the game despite that they were beaten, on day one, by CR and FC. Though there was a thunderous applause for CR they failed to maintain the momentum on day two. CR playing Kandy is not an ordinary game. When they meet CR gets all pepped up as on this occasion. Yet they must continue with that enthusiasm if they are to win titles.
One day one it was an interesting battle. Kandy, CR, CH Havelock's in one group. The other consisted of Army Air Force, Police and Jawatte Lions. In group A Kandy CR and Havelocks lost one game each and the positions were decided on the scoring done by each team. Kandy came on top with CR at number two and Havelock's at number three being separated by one try. In group B it was the Army followed by Air Force and Police. It was an interesting last game the police had against Jawatte lions where they had to have a sixty seven point net scoring in the last match. They came up within one point and had to be placed third.
The grouping that raised eyebrows when announced was based on the performance of the previous sevens where the Kandy and Army took a lost in each group. While the rest took their position based on the performance, Kandy was a well knit side who played according to a plan and did play a controlled game. Their ability to recover and come back was to their advantage. CR who Beat Kandy did not possess the legs and or the will to continue to get the better as they went to day two and lost to Police in the Plate Finals. The Police were getting themselves bottled up also tended to kick away possession on day one. On day two they decided to use the talent at hand and passed the ball around. The try they scored in the plate final was virtually the best in the tournament. All seven handled the ball starting from the center of the field. Starting in the middle the ball moved hands to the outsides, back inside outside again and inside to end up with a try. It seemed the fear was out of them and the ball handling and back up skills came into play. Army who came into final in the previous sevens did not play that well in the Semifinal lost the game. Air Force did well to enter the Final having defeated the CR and FC in the semi final. Air Force was a side that was capable of turning the tide on Kandy. Good ball handling, good recovery and a solid defense are what they had. For some unknown reason they changed the style of playing in final. They opted to get into a contact mode and played a too close that made Kandy punch holes as and when they had possession. They settled down and did not rush and moved the ball around. At the end they emerged the better side and won the tournament.
* Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB