Third in 2009, second last year, Kingswood considers it in the natural order of things that they finish champions this year. They realize that the Peterites will not loosen their grip on the trophy easily. In fact the Bambalapitiya boys have drawn first blood by beating the Kandy school in the sevens tournament.
All that is in the future. With two wins in two games, Kingswood’s next match against Trinity on April 24 at Pallekelle demands immediate focus. As Coach Nalaka Weerakkodi puts it, “We want to remind Trinity that it was Kingswood who started rugby in Sri Lanka.”
|Action from the Kingswood - Dharmaraja game which Kingswood won 19-3.
Pressure heaped on the captain? Yet sturdy number eight Jananath Dharmawardena is capable of
soaking it all up and performing to expectations. He has five other seniors and, of them, the Perera twins Oshan and Lavanka who play as centers seem to be destined for greater deeds.
The team puts up a solid defense, can fight and will challenge any team. Yet the coach concedes that a few players have to learn certain aspects of rugby such as match play.
Theirs is a match by match approach. Weerakkodi is not happy with his team despite their 19-3 defeat of Dharmaraja. He feels that they made too many mistakes, didn’t stick to their usual pattern of play and conceded possession.
Certainly, over the last decade, Kandy and Sri Lanka rugby have been synonymous. And Kingswood has been central to Kandy’s success. Weerakkodi himself, Nilufer Ibrahim, Fazil Marija, Gayan and Roshan Weeraratne have all stamped their class and played for Kandy and Sri Lanka with distinction. While Marija has reached great heights already, the next great player to have emerged from Kingswood’s talent factory could well be Roshan Weeraratne.
Good players do not always make good coaches. Further, this is Nalaka’s first stab at coaching a senior school team. Kingswood skipper in 1995, a Sri Lankan player and captain of the Sri Lanka Sevens team in 2003, his credentials are undeniable. A vibrant force in the team when he represented Kandy SC and Sri Lanka, Weerakkodi has no qualms about his team aiming for the top spot this season. The last Kingswood skipper to hold the trophy aloft was Gayan Ratnage in 2008.
The Principal of Kingswood, Mr. Ranjith Chandrasekera, who is also the President of the school’s rugby union, unabashedly supports the rugger team even at the expense of other teams.
The Kingswood rugby squad:
Props – Chamila Abeygunaratne, Rukshan Fernando, Kasun Herath. Hooker – Neville Jayasinghe. Locks – Udara Kasturiarachchi, Supun Vithanage. Flankers – Chabnaka Piyasena, Yurin Ariyaratne/ Number Eight – Jananath Dharmawardena (Capt), Heshan Silva. Scrum Halves – Aadil Bohran and Duminda Bandara. Centers –Oshan and Lavanka Perera. Wingers – Chaminda Udayanga, Mohammed Nazri. Full Back – Tilina Weerasinghe. Others attending practices – Ravindu Ilangamage, G.G.S.Piyumal, R. Prematilleka, Isanka Samarakoon, Akila Medagedera, Bhuvaneka Wijebandara, Chinthaka Weerakkodi.