Isipathana College, true to their school motto “strive with determination”, kept their unbeaten record intact through out the season, to clinch the schools top division plum last Saturday- the Cup championship title, after coming on top against another unbeaten contender in the race-S. Thomas’ College by 28 points to 24. They regained the title after [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

The grass is greener when you win the title


Skipper Kushan Indunil

Isipathana College, true to their school motto “strive with determination”, kept their unbeaten record intact through out the season, to clinch the schools top division plum last Saturday- the Cup championship title, after coming on top against another unbeaten contender in the race-S. Thomas’ College by 28 points to 24. They regained the title after lapse of two years. It was indeed a great effort by the Havelock town lads, overpowering their opponents in the season in style, with only four coloursmen in their ranks. This year Isipathana was led from the front by 5th year coloursman Kushan Indunil. He is a nimble footed center pairing with his deputy Sumudu Rankothge, outfoxed the defence of many opposing sides, cutting through like knife on butter.

Isipathana, right through out their rugby history, play a very expansive game. They rely on their speedy backs to attack and counter attack on any phase of the game. Hence each year they posses genuine speedsters in their armour. The wings Chamod Fernando and Ranidu Pramod, proved throughout the tournament their pace cannot be matched by any other contender from opposing camp. The rest of the backs, who shined in the season-fly half Randy Silva,

Nilfer Ibrahim trained the side to finish off on high note.

half back Dileeka Hettiarachchi and reliable full back Gayan Wickremaratne too possessed the speed and had the dummy to send their opponent on the wrong foot. The Isipathana ‘eight’, played out a fierce game throughout the season. The advantage always they have is, fielding mobile set of forwards to pounce on the loose ball and being quick to the breakdown point, though weight wise they are less when compared to most of opposing teams.

The Isipathana back row forwards, number eight Vageesha Weerasinghe, the two flankers Devin Guneratne and Sashmitha Fernando were the best this season.A special mention should be made of Vageesha. With his small body stature many will identify him as either a wing or a center. But against all odds, he has proven that number eights can be small in body stature, but with possessing speed and power, can surprise the defence.Vageesha, on the day of Cup championship final he had a gland on his right leg. After taking medication, he played the game with lot of determination and courage to end up with two tries. The surgery on his right leg was done two days after the final. The commitment of Vageesha should be appreciated all around. The rock hard Isipathana first five too should not be forgotten.

Ranuka, Wing

The players with highest number of tries in the season was, Sumudu Rankothge (8), Chamodh Fernando (7), Ranidu Pramod(6),Vageesha Weerasinghe (5), Kushan Indunil, Gayan Wickremaratne, Adeesha Weeratunga and Harith Bandara (3) each.  Looking back at the season, skipper Kushan Indunil stated.” We never took a single game easy. We consider all of them as tough games. The opponents we met had different strengths and weakness. The team that we met in the decider -S.Thomas’ was tough. They were too vying for the title. Early in the season, they beat us to grab the Sevens title. But the best effort is to regain what we have lost. And we did it by lifting the Cup championship title against the same opponent”.

Trainer Dayan, the man who molded the Isipathana team to stay fighting fit stated. “The Isipathana players when compared to rest of schools are small made. But by using techniques and speed they were able to come up on top against the disadvantage. I stressed on this points and they delivered the goods to take the lead from the rest”. Isipathana’s forward’s coach Terence Henry, is a well known player in the Sri Lankan rugby fraternity. He played for Wesley, Havelocks SC, Navy SC and later went onto don the National jersey. He has done a tremendous job on the set of forwards. He stated “I began coaching the forwards from January this year. When you asses the forwards from

Sumudu, Vice Captain & Center

January to present day, I can say each player has improved remarkably. As far as I remember, Isipathana is famous for open rugby.

Their forwards may be less in weight, but have mobility. This has been an advantage to them against opposing sides that have heavy set of forwards. In the last three games of the season, we went with a defensive game plan against Trinity, Royal and S.Thomas’. Against Trinity the plan was successful by 40-50%. But in the next game against Royal, the defensive plan was a success. We carried the same plan to counter S.Thomas’ and it succeeded as well.”  Nilufer Ibrahim, the Isipathana head coach may not need too much introduction. Product of Kingswood and later played for Kandy SC, Navy SC and Sri Lanka as well. This is what he had to say on the performance of his boys in the season.”We were never favourites this season. People use to mention that word after making a comparison with previous year.

In 2014, we had a rugby squad of 28 players.And in 2015 it was 35 players. At the beginning of the season, we missed the services of 11 senior players. Hence we played the season with 4 coloursmen. But all blended well and prepared to plan each match on it own merit. I have coached many schools before for instance Dharmaraja,

Chamod, Wing

Kingswood and Trinity. The difference I see Isipathana from the rest of schools is, they play the game from their heart. That is why so much of passion for rugby at Isipathana. Isipathana can be rightly called as a rugby school.The Isipathana players may be small in stature but they can outrun any opponent. Our wings can run from this try line to the other. Such is the confidence I have. The forwards may be small but they posses mobility to surprise their counterparts.

I must thank Dayan, our trainer for taking care of fitness and Henry for molding the forwards. And the Isipathana rugby committee is probably the best I have seen. They are behind every thing ad taking care of all necessities.”  Finally the ‘Green Shirts’ sent a strong message across the rugby playing fraternity, that their position as ‘cradle of Sri Lankan rugby’ still exist and they will continue to do so in the future. A school that took up the oval shape ball game in 1963, have come a long way since then to dominate the game in Sri Lanka schools rugby.Isipathana have taken the lead in almost every school rugby competition on offer for the last 40 years. They have won many sevens, knock outs and league titles. In the knock out tournaments commenced for the first time since 1985, they have clinched it 9 times and their closest rival has been St.Peters College and S.Thomas College with 5 times each.

Isipathana’s performance  this league season:   

Vs. Dharmaraja College 61-15
Tries: Chamodh Fernando (3) Devin Gunarathne, Harith Bandara, Sumudu Rankothge, Kushan Indunil, Gayan Wickramarathne,Vgeesha Weerasinghe and Randy Silva(1) try each.
Conversions: Ranidu Padmasanka 3, Dileeka Hettiacrachchi 1
Penalties: Ranidu Padmasanka 1
Vs. St.Anthony’s College 43-17
Tries: Sumudu Rankothge (2), Isuru Ekanayake, Hasitha Mapitigama, Gayan Wickramarathne, Nasran Nilamdeen and Dileeka Hettirachchi(1) try each.
Conversions: Gayan Wickramarathne (4)
Vs. Kingswood College 53-05
Tries: Ranidu Padmasanka (2), Devin Gunarathne Kushan Indunil, Sasmitha Fernando,Sudeera Gayanath, Sharukh Manabarana, Adeesha Weerathunge and Manilka Ruberu(1) try each.
Conversions: Dileeka Hettiacrachchi (2), Gayan Wickramarathne (2)
Vs. St.Peters College 36-21
Tries: Sumudu Rankothge (2), Isuru Ekanayake, Adeesha Weerathunga, Vageesha Weerasinghe, and Sasmitha Fernando (1) try each.
Conversions: Gayan Wickramarathne (2), Ranidu Pramodh (1)
Vs. Science College 29-23
Tries: Chamodh Fernando (2), Vageesha Weerasinghe and Harith Bandara (1) try each.
Conversions: Gayan Wickramarathne (2)
Penalties: Gayan Wickramaraththne (1)
Vs. Wesley College 43-08
Tries: Gayan Wickramarathne(2), Lahiru Wishwajith, Sumudu Rankothge, Ranidu Pramodh, Chamodh Fernando and Ravindu Anjana (1) try each.
Conversions: Ranidu Pramodh (3), Gayan Wickramarathne (1)
Vs. Trinity College 32-22
Tries: Ranidu Padmasanka (2) Kushan Indunil, Adeesha Weerathunga and Harith Bandara (1) try each.
Conversions: Ranidu Padmasanka (1) Gayan Wickramrathne (2)
Penalties: Ranidu Padmasanka (1)
Vs. Royal College 28-14
Tries: Sumudu Rankothge (2) Ranidu Padmasanka (1) 1 Penalty Try
Conversions: Gayan Wickramarathne (4)
Vs. S.Thomas College 28-24
Tries: Vageesha Weerasinghe (2) Chamodh Fernando( 1)
Conversions: Gayan Wickramarathne (2)
Penalties: Gayan Wickramarathne (3)

Vageesha, No.8Gayan, Fullback

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