After winning the 2014 league match against Kingswood and assured of the Trophy the Pathana Deputy Principal joyously thanked the players and said “Isipathana is Rugby and Rugby is Isipathana”. On the field it was daggers drawn in the first half and yet the greens managed to remove the heart of the kings and win [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Unbeaten Isipathana’s moment of joy


After winning the 2014 league match against Kingswood and assured of the Trophy the Pathana Deputy Principal joyously thanked the players and said “Isipathana is Rugby and Rugby is Isipathana”. On the field it was daggers drawn in the first half and yet the greens managed to remove the heart of the kings and win by 34 points to 10.

The boys of both sides had respect for each other despite tackling with aggression and bringing down the opponent with a thud. What was good thereafter was the spirit that prevailed. It was a sporty sight to see the aggressor helping the man on the ground to get back to his feet and continue the fight another time same day. In the second half the Kings were pegged down and not allowed to score as the champions dominated. The aggression on the field coupled with dehydration had a toll on the players who had to nurse many injuries. A good aspect of the game was the sprit in which the boys played always willing to give a hand to a fallen player of the opposition to get up. This often was after a bone jarring tackle and some which bordered on dangerous but was within rugby and the game. The accent on playing hard but with discipline was evident as the Pathana Coach Nilufer Ibrahim was seen walking to the sin bin chair and castigating his player for a late tackle. Kasturiarachchi, the Kingswood coach opined that the referees are the same lot that goes around and there is no point in finding fault as everybody gets the same soup. The emphasis to the players was to play to the whistle and not do anything that is rash or dangerous. He believed that this helped him to bring this team to be among the first three this year.

The outcomes of other encounters played during the final week of the league did not affect Isipathana’s fate after all - File pic

While the battle for the top was enacted the Joes and S. Thomas’ locked to decide on the 7 and 8 in the league. Unlike the league decider this game of the minnows had the Lady Jayatillake shield which was first presented in 1966 finding its way to Darley Road.

The 51 points that Joes got in this game was evidence of how well this team would have played if they played as a team. Probably laid back with a threat of the referee’s society refusing to blow, did help them as they seemed more focused on the game than the man who whistles. Probably coach Leonard de Zilwa thinking that this was his last game for the year took charge of things and decided that leading on the field and playing as a team was important.

Just as much as Joes a talented side was disappointing along with S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia the situation of Dharmarajah and Wesley are cause for concern. Winning the league last year Rajans and the supporters went on an over drive mode and have come back to reality. Wesley on the other hand had its ups and down and did not reach the standard of last year. After the Plate games St. Anthony’s Kandy, Wesley , Rajans will remain in the cup and will be joined by CWW Kannangara MMV. CWWK is a school that has done well in rugby within a short space of time without a ground of their own and with little known Asela Nuwan as coach. Asela has shown the capabilities of his team especially in the sevens. Now they have entered the big league and to match the big spenders they will need maximum support in the name of rugby development.

The season being almost over bar the knockout what have we to talk about the game at schools. It started with a threat of the league being abandoned as the schools section and the governing body locked horns. This was sorted out but not fully and a year school of rugby is over. Cohabitation and coexistence of these two arms of the game is necessary for the future and hopefully issues will be resolved as the end as expectation of both is rugby. Irritants have been present through the season and have mostly revolved around referees. While the villains of an era are taking a step back new actors seem to be getting on stage. The root of the problem seems to spin around the amounts that are spent. The more prominent in this quagmire are the former pupils who are involved in different roles of advising or funding or ground arrangements. Some forget the need to maintain the dignity of the office they hold and take time off to question whether time was over.

There once was a non-conformist bird that decided not to fly south for the winter. He said “I’ve had enough of this flying south and I’ll just stay right here on this farm. Winter was very cold; the bird had never felt such cold weather and was afraid that he might freeze to death. The poor bird was cold, tired and hungry. “Why did I stay?” he asked himself as he collapsed on the ground. As he lay there covered by the snow, a bull happened to pass by. The bull, feeling the need to relieve himself, crapped right on the bird. At first being angry the bird said, “Who did this horrible thing to me, how dare someone crap on me, I’ll get him for this!” The crap was too heavy for him to free himself. But, after a while the crap began to warm him and he forgot all about his anger. In fact he was so warm that he began to sing. A cat passing overheard the singing and as he cleared away the crap to his delight he found the bird. The bird was so happy to be free from the crap that he thanked the Cat, who then decided to eat the little bird. To some the office is too heavy to hold and they go back to the crap they are accustomed and start feeling comfortable. This is not for long and they start singing and expose themselves and blame others.

Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB

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