aim to produce exciting rugby
By Bernie Wijesekera
In the coming season CR and FC will strive to play open rugby said
the newly elected captain Asanga Rodrigo, in an interview with The
Sunday Times. Rodrigo, a bundle of energy, a former Royalist has
been playing for the Red Shirts for seven years as utility forward,
and for the country.
You have been
playing for the club since you left school. There is no point changing
clubs even for material gains when the player is looked after and
has established himself. The main thing in life is loyalty and be
happy with what you have. Today I am honoured to lead the team.
I will justify whilst leading them from the front in its best traditions.
There is a squad
of 35 in training with a blend of youth and experience. The training
is being handled by Tony Amit. Last year CR was placed fourth in
the table. Will strive to improve with a concerted team effort.
If we fail them we are not found wanting. If you don't lose them
you don't know how to win. Can you elaborate on the composition
of the squad. Up front there is Shantha Rohana, the tough prop Viraj
Prasanna, the (hooker) Haren Gabriel and Lakmal Abeysuriya.
Rohan Perera, Sumedha Jayasinghe and Charya de Saram. The third-row
looks solid. Indefatigable Savantha de Saram (No.8), flankers Pavithra
Fernando and Chinthaka Abeysuriya, (captained Royal in 1993), staging
a comeback. Shamley Nawaz and Rangika Prasad, (Kandy Youth SC player)
adding much flavour to the pack. There are many others on the wings.
The half backs
will revolve around Champika Nishantha, T. Bohran and last year's
Vidyaratha captain, G.Rajapakse. Roshan Peiris, a young prospect,
who played last year, will be the stand-off along with Z. Halimdeen.
The backline looks good. H. Gunatilleke (former Isipatana Captain
- 2000) and last year's Royal Skipper, dazzling centre, Haren Kaluarachchi
who should focus much attention.
Others are S.Doray
and Wegodapola. In the wings hard-running Kishan Musafer, Nishantha
Kumara, N. Ekanayake, Asanga will man the last line, constantly
forming the overlap with his zig-zag runs to bemuse the defence.
Burly Lasitha Gunaratne is the rugby Chairman. Gunaratne will be
on the bench for an emergency call. Club rugby must be very competitive,
then in the process it will help the game at national level. CR's
aim is towards this end in the coming season.
wants to coach less affluent players
Hisham Abdeen, the versatile sportsman to hail from Isipathana MV
has many firsts in his trail-blazing international rugby career.
Without doubt he was a rugby sensation during his schools career.
This year Isipatana will be celebrating their golden jubilee. From
small beginnings they came of age on and off the field with sheer
grit and determination, to match the best in the schools fraternity.
Town School in the process made their way to the top. There are
many ways to fame, but it came via rugby, when they held their own
against the best in the schools circuit. They will be celebrating
their 50th anniversary with an Int. schools tournament to be staged
here later this year. When rugby history is written, Abdeen will
have a special place.
He became the
first schoolboy to represent Sri Lanka in the Hong Kong Int. 7s
and in 1980. Bristling with talent, in 1980 he was tagged as 'a
rugby sensation' with a record haul of 25 tries for the school.
He came of age and became the first schoolboy to be picked for the
HK 7s, to represent Sri Lanka. In the process did proud for the
He was a regular member in the Lankan team. A granite-hard forward,
be it for his club, Havelocks S.C.(his first club after his school
career) for the country, played his heart out.
debut in HK 'sevens' was in 1976, led by Indrajit Coomaraswamy.
In 1984 Abdeen captained the Lankan 7s team and created rugby history,
winning the Bowl for the first time on offer defeated Thailand in
a thrilling final 16-10 - a Red Letter Day in the annals of Lankan
rugby. It was a spirited team effort with Abdeen leading from the
Abdeen, at present
is coaching the Green Horns in the SLRFU Dev. squad. When asked
to comment about his rugby deeds and an unforgettable moment in
his rugby career spanning over 25 years, be it as player, coach
and administrator. Firstly, enjoyed playing rugby. It's a beautiful
sport provided it's played in the correct spirit. Today it's not
a sport confined to a privileged lot. Its wings have spread country-wide
and have a great following.
members of the Dev. Squad has never seen or handled a rugby ball
until they were harnessed by the talent scouts. They have the physical
strength. What they need is support and encouragement. I have made
a name in rugby and want to give something back to the game which
helped me to go places, whilst coaching these less affluent players.
in your career playing for Sri Lanka in HK 7s and leading the country
to win the bowl in 1984, in an international contest. You had another
first, leading the Lankan team for the first Welsh tour in 1987.
Records are secondary - the country matters in the end. Records
are forgotten. Besides you, there was another internationally classed
player in Priyantha Ekanayake. Without doubt he is one of the best,
who could have made the grade in any team.
We had lot
of understanding on and of the field. Really enjoyed playing with
the likes of Saman Jayasinghe, 'Shan' Perera be it for the coutnry
or for the club CH and FC. Later Abdeen crossed over from the Havies
to CH and proved a tower of strength. Besides rugby, Hisham excelled
in other ball games, too. Cricket, as a gangling fast bowler and
played football. But his first love was rugby - the sport that made
him a man. A proud product of the Havelock Town School.
Rugby is one of the most popular sports not only worldwide, but
in Sri Lanka too unlike in the past. Today the game is being played
island-wide, said Monty Candappa, the Managing Director of Brown
and Co. at a media briefing held at the Gymkhana Club.
was chaired by the Chairman of the Gymkhana Club, Christopher Dias,
in association with Romesh Fernando (Secretary), Ranjan Canagasabey,
(Chairman rugby CH & FC, rugby committee), Rohan Goonetilleke
(Asst. Gen. Manager), Channa Pathirana (Marketing Manager) and Matt
Lee the Kiwi coach.
Sharp decided to scrum down with CH for the first time in the promotion
and development of rugby at grassroots level. The junior programme
under-11 and 13 is open to all put aside to the members' children
alone. CH being one of the oldest rugby playing clubs has maintained
a high standard and has a rich heritage behind. It has been in the
forefront dominating the local scene. In the past Browns have sponsored
cricket, netball at national level. At present helping the poor
man's sport football, too.
The CH &
FC partinership is bound to inject fresh blood to the sport, Canadappa
Chairman Christopher Dias thanked Browns for coming forward with
this package. I am confident the team will give their best in the
coming season with the assistance of coach Matt Lee. He will help
the team with the latest rugby skills for them to reach greater
heights in the coming season. Further, Sharp has come forward to
sharpen the team with a three-year sponsorship.
CH are planning
to play a mini-rugby match which will precede before the 'A' league
game at home and away. When the game is played at Nittawala against
Kandy SC., the juniors will play against their counterparts. Rohan
Abeykoon, Grahame Raux and Imethie Marikar are co-ordinating for
this development programme. In the 1990s CH has won many trophies
- regularly in the process maintaining the spirit of the game on
and off the field. The players have done proud for the club and
for the country Dias said.