ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 01

Solve these conflicts for rugby’s sake

The schools rugby season and the resultant court action and its effects on rugby have been very much discussed during the recent past. Some interesting points have been raised at various times when the issue is discussed. A question asked is “what exactly are they trying to achieve. ‘Is anybody trying to create and write a story of confusion’ is another question asked?

Buchanan with his bowling machine

School rugby has drawn interest and drawn crowds. They are now denied the chance to see their favorite sons on the park. Schools such as Trinity, St Peters, Issipatana, S. Thomas’s , Royal St Anthony’s Kandy , Kingswood College among others always draw crowds. Royal College playing Issipatana is a game that would have drawn large crowds. Now that match played for a trophy is unlikely to come of.

Who is to take the blame for the disastrous school rugby season that is in progress? The schools administration seem to be in the hands of some who seem to be having bones made of jelly fish. The chaos that is prevailing if considered as bad what would you say of what is to come. We had the Trinity vs Ananda match called off due to the latter school being unable to field a team due to injuries. This week too there is to be a repeat of that drama. Meanwhile there are various statements, which do not seem to have a conclusion, made about the disciplinary inquiry of a player ordered off. If this is the way the game will progress what hope will be there for rugby in the future. Saner counsel will have to prevail and steps taken to ensure the progress of the game is in capable hands. There is no point hiding behind circulars and quoting the responsible body if the job does not get done. True the education ministry is responsible. If they cannot get the job right, the answer would be to get some to help to get it done. Who wants help? The question will be worth a million answers. All those that are in an asylum of rugby madness are the short answers.

Getting back to the question of the current issue Royal vs. Issipatana one has to ask: “is there question of the ego machinery at work which makes some blind to the contribution to the greater need while striving to prove a point which may be petty in the minds of some. It does not seem to be confined to this issue only as for the game goes in the schools. The most current deadlock on the disciplinary issue seems to be a similar one. It is not whether the wrong was done. It is just that we have to win it on our point of view. This will continue as long as there are no strong managers.

While I do not approve of breaking of rules even for one player the confrontation is not going to yield any positive results. The reason to contribute to this thinking evolves from the fact that we have seen enough of the conflict culture bleeding our country in every aspect of life and there is no need for more conflict to divide society. Especially this has to avoid at the level of young students. This time it is a smaller element from the composition of society ‘the lovers of rugby”. The country and Education sector has bigger issues to face other than getting involved in petty differences and seeking court rulings each time. The Department of education rulings and the virtually defunct Schools Union is another sad story. Sadly heads of both schools (or should it be all schools) have contributed to the present mess.

A suggestion has been made that mature people of both schools with understanding above the school tie to get together and look for a conflict resolving mechanism to prevent conflicts developing to unhealthy rivalry. May be some punitive action is necessary but not for the whole team should not be deprived of representing their school. If commercial disputes can be settled by arbitration/mediation why should schoolboys end up in court to settle disputes even before getting in to mainstream of life? A question asked by a grand lover of the game who is an old boy of Thurstan College.

Back to the drawing board and for those who have to be reminded. Royal College complains that Issipatana rugby team was represented by an ineligible student in 2006. The school it is reported gets clarification from authorities that the last day of schooling of the student in question should be 24th September 2006. The school authorities have clarified this further with the ministry of education and accordingly termed the leaving of the student as 24th September 2006. Isipathana goes to district courts and obtains an enjoining order to remain in the A division. The schools section of rugby decides to play a tournament as group, 1A, 1B and 1C. Probably they considered the other issues that worried them viz. St Anthony’s College, Kandy and Wesley College Colombo. This was confirmed by all masters in charge of the schools that represented the meeting. Therefore the tournament kicked off. A court order is taken, while the tournament was in progress, by an old Royalist directing the schools section to refrain from playing Isipatana in the tournament in the current ‘A’ division.

Isipatana is back in Hultsdorp filing fresh action. All expects that rugby will be the winner which at the moment is the loser. May be the governing body will have to get involved as the cradle of rugby is rocked throwing away the water with the baby. Let us face that Issipatana has been and will be a provider of talent to the national cause.

They too have a responsibility to mould the future role models.

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