Like the way every fairy tale ends and the right royal game

A silver lining is seen in the distant horizon for rugby as the council members that were elected in a questionable AGM together with Club and provincial union representatives met.

It was decided that nominations will be called and an SGM held to fill in the slots for the post of President and Secretary. With the vacant Council positions not being filled at the last meeting this too will be attended to after the SGM after a new President is in place. It seems that there are some sensible moves in the right direction to resurrect what is left of the game and hopefully we will move to a better plane with the blessing and acceptance of the Governing body the IRB.

What irks some of the members who attended this meeting is the attempt to dominate proceedings by the former Treasurer cum Secretary of the interim body who drops reference to the Sports Law at every turn. What is important here is to use the sports law to facilitate and promote than to be a hindrance. Maybe what is best is for a reconciliation committee to sit and iron issues than let them fester.
Possibly the Sri Lanka Air Force Nominee to the council Air Commodore Gunaratne will be a useful council member in this sphere. Gunratne being an expert in peace and conflict resolution is a much respected lecturer at the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the University of Colombo.

Action from the St.Peter’s vs Royal game.

Thus we hope sanity can be brought to a game which was becoming a place for cuckoos to rest. Whoever becomes President after the AGM has a lot of reconciliation to do and not be swayed by brief less legal experts.

The game it appears is getting better at the schools and is more exciting than the farce that at most times are enacted in games of the club scene. One thing that I noticed in the clubs arena is a beautiful green top presented to the players by the Army at their Galle Face grounds. It is indeed a pleasure to see such a green topped ground. I am told that there is more in place to make this ground a very good and up to date venue.

As has been in the last few weeks the Schools Matches proved to be exciting. Last week we saw the clash of the Unbeaten: Royal College Vs St Peters College. St Peters emerged winners and they come closer to the league title. Despite being defeated by 22 points to 20 Royal emerged the team that gained most from this match.

Having a young side they performed well playing to their strength and came out well to restrict St. Peter’s who led 15 to 8 at the break. In the words of Coach Theo Serphim he is very happy the way the boys played and the result is not material. Thus what is left is to continue and motivate the young players who have tough games ahead. To coach Theo they have showed what they can do and that is they have the ammunition to take on the best. My only word of caution to the parents and Old Boys is not to expect too much and push the boys too much as disappointment is easy to come.

An interesting feature in analyzing the game is that in the eighty minutes of play there were only sixty six break downs. This is a staggering time of the ball being in play being around forty five minutes. Seventeen scrums speak volumes of the skills in ball handling and passing as this included three resets. Mind you this was in damp underfoot conditions. There were nineteen penalties which was a very fair count though sixteen of them being at the Tackle Ruck and Maul. This allowed ball movement up and down the field. That is what the spectator would like to see and that is what he got. The not so dry ground inhibited the fast running Peterites whereas the Royal forwards made use of the conditions to their advantage and more of it was in the second half.

What I say below is not to defend a referee but to critically analyze what happened and to see any reasons that may justify the comments of the spectator. It is sometimes difficult to understand people who are blinded by school loyalty who are more interested to comment on what the referee could have done better. Sixty six break downs consisted of seventeen scrums, twenty six lineouts and nineteen penalties and four injuries.

Eight penalties were for not releasing, not allowing release and not staying on feet while five of them were in the first half. The number of penalties for ruck and maul was five in the first half. This set the standard and the pace for more ball and quick ball. I believe the spectator that pays needs to be entertained and he did get the excitement that kept most on the edge of their seats. The statistics speak for the performance and not generalized comments that are made for the sake of making and not backed by solid analysis.

Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB

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