ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 36
Kandy Times

They’re really unstoppable

By Aubrey Kuruppu

You name it and Kandy SC has won it where rugby is concerned. Their winning habit was formed in 1992 and ever since, the Clifford Cup, the Rugby League and the Sevens titles have been theirs, save for one or two blips on the radar.

Success has many fathers it has been said and trusted, sponsor and behind-the-scenes – man Malik Samarawickrama comes to mind first. The nitty-gritty has been handled by the almost perennial president, Dr. Sarath Kapuwatte and his eager, hard-working committee. Dr. Kapuwatte says he is in his 15th year as president but it does seem an age.

The Kandy rugby powerhouse was in full steam during the last season.

The President feels that last year his team was a bit up and down. “When the team gets everything together, they’re unstoppable". He's extremely optimistic above the club’s success in 2007, however he does admit that the gap between Kandy SC and the CR & FC in particular in narrowing. “The CR has a good structure in place. Not so much the CH.”

The prodigals – ex Vidyartha players Saliya Kumara (he ended up at Trinity) and Dhanushka Pushpakumara – have returned though the battered calf has not been killed. In addition, former Isipathana player Anuranga Walpola has left the portals of the Longden Place club for the hilly environs of Kandy Sports Club.

Kandy SC usually follows the practice of appointing a captain each year. “If he's exceptional, he’ll probably get another stint”. The club has adopted a two captains policy this time with sturdy prop Jeeva Galgamuwa to lead in the longer game and elusive centre Chamara Vithanage to captain the Sevens team.

One familiar face will be missing. According to the president, Nalaka Weerakkody who gave such sterling service to the club has decided to quit. An often brilliant player who could collect well, kick to touch expertly, convert with a fair degree of accuracy and also spot the gap and run through, Nalaka will be badly missed. However the Weerakkody name will be carried on by younger brother Eranda.

Last season, Kandy SC had but three matches at Nittawela. This was grossly inadequate. Dr. Kapuwatte points out that the club budget is around Rs 6 million. The three matches played in 2006 yielded around six lakhs. The yawning gap was covered by way of sponsorship and advertisements.

The grape-vine says that Kandy SC looks after its players. Very well…. When a player is injured - even when he's off duty - his medical expenses are looked after. A player was sent abroad for treatment at club expense. Kandy SC’s Kitty is shared around equally. Players are also found jobs. As for diet, it is the preserve of the players.

Mahes Weerasinghe, the Secretary, said that Nittawela in undergoing structural improvements. A new pavilion with dressing-rooms etc in being built expecially with the Singer Sevens in mind. Umbrellas will be put up in front of the new pavilion for spectators to watch the matches in comfort.

The Club is thankful to former players and captains such as Hemantha Yatawara and Indrajith Bandaranaike. The former accepted the Rugby Committee chairman's post half way through last season and did a good job. The latter, by all accounts, did a fine job as Rugby Manager.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.