The rugby at the schools league was not co -related to the high entrance fee that is charged. A spectator asked whether the increased price is because the rupee is depreciating against the dollar. I was told that Issipathna has allowed free entrance to all schoolboys who enter in student uniform. It is only in an extreme case that they will ask for the school identity. That is a good move by Pathana who have in the past thrilled the spectator.
The comment of the week, and possibly the year, was made by a maverick former national player following the huge margin by which Peters beat Kingswood. Despite having lost the match by 64 points he chose to find fault with the referee. I did not expect Kingswood to be reduced to being on lookers in one way traffic. Having beaten St. Anthony’s the previous week this performance should be an eye opener to perform unless they want to be at the bottom. The onus is on the many illustrious ex players to understand reality and act accordingly.
Vidyartha continued their challenge as a worthy” A” Division side going down to Royal in a close fight and lost 38 to 29 in a thrilling match. Trinity rolled over St Anthony’ and are proving to be the side that may take the cup. We are still in the second week and coming back after a break next week; who knows what would happen.
|Trinity are playing to their potential once again this season and had a relatively one-sided game against their neighbours in Kandy. (Pic by Mangala Weerasekera)
Science had a shocker and was saved by the try on the whistle in a game DSS led to that moment .The match itself started in a water logged condition which probably was not to the liking of Science who likes to run. This however does not devalue the DSS who played aggressive rugby which again upset the giant killers of last year. The wet and slippery ground at Reid Avenue was not the reason for the game between Isipathana and St Josephs to not reach moments of high excitement.
Both teams did not appear to play to their strength and were guilty of many handling errors as well as mistakes in judgment. Both sides were guilty of repeated handling errors as well as being undisciplined at the tackle, ruck and maul. The penalty count was twenty at the tackle ruck and maul and the penalties at the tackle were a high fifteen. The inability to take a decision as well as playing solo was the bane of this average performance. Joes who appeared to be somewhat drowsy suddenly broke off the shackles in the second half and scored 15 points as against 10 from their opponents. This was not enough to win as you are not the winner on the performance of one half.
What I noticed in the last two weeks was that there seemed to be inhibition on the part of players to make the difference on the field. It looked as though teams were being led from the sidelines. The coaches of the high performers Trinity, Royal and St. Peters keep following the game than being seen barking orders. Others still have to be seen and keep moving like jack in the box when you are fighting to remain where you are or are trying to get to where you were.
Rugby is a game where fifteen players have to execute different techniques and adjust the play as the situation demands. You may be passing the ball with precision but suddenly there is a break down. It can be centre field or more closer to fifteen meter touch. It is a different formation or execution of a move that has to be decided. What was done probably one minute ago cannot always be repeated. We need players who can run, pass and tackle. These players need players to think and act while being on their feet. It is no longer repeating the skill that was learnt and practiced.
To become a champion on the field there are no shortcuts and players have to work hard, build muscle strength, improve quickness, increase endurance and work on technique. But you can’t just stop .The mental side becomes important to be a champion.Once you are on the field for an important game, the difference between playing well or poorly lies between your ears. Are you able to stay calm and composed under pressure? If you go into a game too nervous, you will make a lot of mistakes and come out disappointed. Staying relaxed under pressure is one of the secrets to being able to play your game. That is the way you are capable of playing.
For this the player must have the ability to focus on what is important and let go of everything else? Concentration is the key to performance excellence. If you lose control of your focus and concentrate on the wrong things either before or during your game: You will undermine your confidence or underachieve. Rugby is a fast a game to play well. The players’ concentration in the right place counts the most.
You have to quickly let go of your mistakes and get your head back in the action? Players who get really mad at themselves for screw-ups, who carry around their mistakes during the game end up losing their confidence and making more mistakes. Champions on the field have the ability to quickly rebound from their mistakes and return their focus back to the action.
How does a player do all this if somebody keeps barking instructions and disturbing your thought and trend as though the player is a rugby moron with a piece of paper between his ears with the word “Brain” written on it. The responsibility is with the player; the coach needs to be accountable.
Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB