At last the long overdue wait of Havelocks Sports Club for a rugby league title came to an abrupt end, with newly reformed set of youngsters proving that they on a crusade.
But the effort of these youngsters would be an incomplete task if not for the great Samoan influence which helped them to bring down the dominance of Kandy Sports Club. Havelocks lost their only game of the season to Kandy in the first round. But they are now guaranteed with the league rugby title.
Behind the success of the Havelocks was legendary Talugese Tavita, better known as Laga who took over the reigns as coach. He explained the importance and need of winning the league title whilst beating Kandy SC after 17 long years. “I was part of the Kandy regime for four years and I had my own reasons in leaving Kandy SC. But you want to see if you can challenge yourself more as a coach, so I came back to CR&FC from, Kandy in 2006 thinking I was going to finish it off in style but then again lost by a small margin.
This year’s win against Kandy is a lot more satisfying. I am not really happy with the performance but it’s more like a relief. Kandy has been great champions for such a long time and for these boys to beat them, it’s not all about me. I can coach but it’s about respect, aim and executing the things that we do perfectly and playing as a unit. No one is bigger than the team and I’m very happy with what we achieved,” explained Laga.
Laga, who grew up in New Zealand further explained on the changes he tried to implement on the ‘Pinks and Chocolates’. “Technically we needed to play a different style of game. That of course comes with hard work, we had to play a bit faster and give the boys more freedom to express their talent on the field. Trying to put a puzzle together is not always easy but once you get a hang of it things will fall into place. This is exactly what has been happening at the Havelocks.”
“Observing other clubs and their potentials is a key in teaching or coaching a totally new side. I have spent 12 years in Sri Lanka with CR&FC and Kandy Sports Club and I have� a fair bit of ideas of how clubs do prepare in Sri Lanka and also on how they look at the opposition. But the game has moved on and so as the other clubs, it’s good to see this young bunch here trying to move on and learn fast and then transform into a winning outfit. I have gone through this stage way back home and I know how difficult it is get things in order.
Kandy SC has been winning for the past 11 years and they were the major force here in Sri Lanka and we knew that we have to come up with something different. I see a lot of changes in rugby here. Of course the Carlton Sevens has changed the game in a better way I guess. With that sort of concept you can always go forward. No Union will have a clear way without trouble. But it’s certainly the way forward,” he further added