firm favourites to win Milo title
By Shamseer Jaleel
Royal College Colombo will be all out to win the Milo 'A' division
league this year with two national players as well as one youth
player in their side. They are privileged to have the services of
six senior players out of which four are coloursmen. They started
the season by beating the Rajans in Kandy by 45 points to nil. This
game was played in Kandy and it was a good warm up for the boys.
They will face
the real test when they take on the defending Milo league champs,
St. Peter's at their Sports Complex grounds today. St. Peter's who
were held to a 20 points to all draw by the Trinity "Lions"
last week. In this game the Peterites were under severe pressure.
The "Lions" forwards gave an excellent account of themselves
in this encounter. Both Royal and St. Peter's strength lie in their
speedy three-quarters with Royal having a slight edge with two of
their players having represented the senior national team. But the
Peterites are no pushovers with the best winger in schools Rugby
Mohamed Rinaz playing for them.
has contributed a lot to Sri Lankan rugby specially in last 20 years
with lot of players going on to represent the motherland with much
pride. Hiran Muttiah, Sriyan Cooray, Lasita Gunaratne, Anura Dhammika,
Alfred Hensmen, Dushantha Lewke, Asanga Rodrigo, Pavithra Fernando,
Naufer Rahim, Rajitha Jayasundera, Lakshman Dissanayake are few
of them. The speedy centre Rajitha Jayasundera who comes from a
sporty family will lead the side this year.
Daya Jayasundera played for Kandy SC (1966-68) and Police SC as
a flanker, captained the Law and Forces team in 1974. He played
for Ceylon in 1971 against the touring England team. Daya was also
a top class referee who was the only person to referee in five Bradly
Shield encounters from 1987-91. He was appointed as the Manager
of the National team for the Asiad in 1990 and 1992. Presently he
is the chairman of Police Rugby.
who is playing in his third year has the honour of playing against
the Arabian Gulf and the Asian giants Japan in the IRB/ARFU tournament.
Earlier he was selected for the Asian Games tour of Busan in South
Korea and the Asiad held in Thailand. Young Rajitha captained the
Youth team at the Asiad 2003 held in Hong Kong early this year.
He was only 15 years when he was selected for the 2000 Asiad held
in Colombo and took part in all the games.
His deputy this
year is the star winger Lakshman Dissanayake who is in his third
year toured with the Senior national team for the Asian Games in
Busan, Korea. In addition to this they will have the services of
the youth cap Varun Wijewardena who toured Hong Kong early this
year. Varun also toured Taipei with the under 16 team. There will
be three seniors to assist the newcomers to the side. They are Awaiz
Rasheed, Shihab Baudeen and Prabath Udugampola.
Ravindra and Bashana Abeywickrama will bind down in the front row.
Bimal Herath who is an excellent loose player will be the Hooker
of the side. The line out jumpers of the side are lanky Ruwaiz Jiffrey
and Danushka Rajapakse. The two speedy flankers are Awaiz Rasheed
and Palinda Wickramasinghe. Prabath Udugampola who will add power
to the pack by playing at Number 8.
will operate from the base of the scrum will pair off with Varun
Wijewardena. Royal College's main strength this season will be their
speedy three-quarters who are very good tacklers. With skipper Rajitha
Jayasundera and Kasun Wijesekera will be the centres with National
player Lakshman Dissanayake and Ravith Amarasinghe are the wingers.
The last line of defence will be manned by cool-headed Shihab Bahudeen
who is an excellent player under pressure.
Last year Royal
remained unbeaten in the league and won the President’s Trophy
beating Wesley by 20 points to six in the final. They completed
the season last year in grand style by outclassing Trinity in the
1st and the 2nd legs of the Bradby Shield. They won the first one
by 39 points to nil and the second one by 44 points to nil. Royal
will be all out to retain the Bradby Shield for the 3rd consecutive
year. The Brdby tally is with Royal 25 wins to Trinity's 32 with
one game ending in a tie. This took place in the year 1992.
The Royal College
team is coached by one of the old boys and former CR & FC and
Sri Lankan nippy scrum half C.P Abeygoonawardena. He has lot of
experience in coaching skills where he took the star studded Kandy
SC to become the Triple Champs winning the Caltex league, Clifford
Cup and the Club 7s. He was in the 1984 Hong Kong 7 s side under
Hisham Abdeen which won the Bowl.
This side comprised
some top names such as Hishan Abdeen, Chandrishan Perera and the
present Secretary of the SLRFU Nalin De Sliva are few of them. This
is the only occasion the National team has won a 7s trophy. He will
be assisted by the "Officer and Gentlemen" Nizam Jamaldeen
who played for Isipathana in 1984-85 and represented the Police
SC as a Fly half. During his playing days he was a superb place
kicker. Jamaldeen who went on to done the National Jersey took up
refereeing with much success. He is one of the International Rugby
Board rated referees respected by all for his fair decisions without
With the Principal
and all the old boys giving all support they are all out to give
their best. Prop-forward - Ravindra Abeywickrema, Bashana Abeywickrema;
Hooker - Bimal Herath; 2nd Row - Ruwaiz Jiffrey, Danushka Rajapakse;
Flankers - Awaiz Rasheed, Palinda Wickramasinghe; No 8 - Prabath
Udugampola; Scrum Half - Nirmal Siriwardena; Fly Half - Varun Wijewardena;
Centres - Rajitha Jayasundera, Kasun Wijesekera; Wingers - Lakshman
Dissanayake, Ravithi Amarasinghe; Full Back - Shihab Bahudeen. Also
in the squad are Fayaz Fazal, Azver Mansoo, Sabry Akram, Sandauwn,
Sivalingam, Eranga Ramawickrema and Mahendra de Silva.
of the fixtures:Vs St. Peters -Royal Sports Complex Today; Vs St
Anthony's-Royal Sports Complex 21-6-2003; Vs Wesley-Royal Sports
Complex 28-6-2003; Vs Isipathana-Royal Sports Complex 5-7-2003;
Vs Trinity (1st Leg) Bogambara Stadium 19-7-2003; Vs Trinity (2nd
Leg)-Royal Sports Complex 2-8-2003; Vs S.Thomas' Date to be announced.
rugby match at Dickoya
It was the foreign planting fraternity during colonial times, who
introduced rugby to Sri Lanka as a social get-together. The Dimbula-Dickoya
game was one of the much looked forward to events in their sports
It was foreign
teams drawn from Nuwara Eliya, Uva and Kelani Valley with a handful
of locals joining the scrum that held sway. They were tough, strong
and burly unlike at present where two foreigners (professionals)
are allowed to join the scrum.
Dickoya-Dimbula match took pride of place. They had some outstanding
local players in the past who played at the national level the likes
of Gamini Tennakoon, Raji De Sylva, Saliya Atapattu, Lalin Tennakoon,
Lionel Almeida, S.B. Pilapitiya just to name on a few. With some
of the estates being taken over by the State, the foreign planters,
too went in search of greener pastures (other countries). Rugby,
too lost its usual flair and sports too suffered in general.
The SLRFU in
their endeavour to revive the game in the Hill Country through their
Rugby Development Committee headed by Arjun Dharmadasa is striving
to bring back the game to the surface once again.
There is a
'C' Division district tournament with four teams in the scrum. Dimbula
D.CA., Dickoya Nuwara Eliya and Matale. -BW