The right mix is the best for rugby

A mixture is made of little bits of various substances mixed together. Chemically there are two or more substances that may have not reacted with each other so as to compound. The mixture most Sri Lankans are familiar with is what goes with your favorite glass that lifts up the spirits. Known sometimes as Bombay Mixture, the local version includes a large variety of exotic ingredients. Together they are nice and sort out not only by those that want an accompaniment with the cup that cheers but also by men women and children when they want something to nibble.

This week the news from rugby is a sort of mixture, true to form sitting separately when they should be bonding for the greater good. The news was finally released. The Sri Lankan Rugby Football Union has appointed a National Coach who is expected to pave the way for success at the Asian 5 Nations. Ellis Meacham is presently Director of Rugby at the Western Suburbs Club in Wellington. He has been holding this job for the last eight months being posted in LinkedIn. Previously he was Director of Rugby for the Federal Republic of Rumania for 1 year and 5 months. And before that for three years he was High Performance Manager and Director of Rugby for Tonga. Lets raise our glass to that says Charlie sitting on a bar stool while bits of mixture fall from the side of his toothless mouth.

Ellis Meacham

On the face of it Elis has the credentials required to handle the job. Just having the credentials will not make Sri Lanka perform to be the great Rugby Nation of Asia? The performance of the players would. At this point that one has to think of the hurdles to be cleared, now that the first has been. Important will be a change of attitude and the support of all. Otherwise as usual there will surface the inter club politics that will hinder progress. You did this to me last year. It is payback time now. The requirement is that we have to run twice as fast to be in the same place we are.

Time is running out and everybody has to put their hands on the wheel. Otherwise the appointment of a coach will be like the mixture which becomes stale and rancid unless made use of. News is also about some headway being made in schools rugby. It is almost certain that there will be twelve teams in Division 1 Group A. They will play each other in groups of six each. The first four in the group will play the first four in the other group on a league basis and the winner will be the Champion of the League.
It is like the mixture that contains consists of a variety of spicy dried ingredients, such as : fried dhal , peanuts, chickpea flour noodles, corn, vegetable oil, flaked rice, fried onion and curry leaves . So it seems to be with the schools rugby format. Handled properly it can give joy to many like the mixture that becomes a craving to all ages in different walks of life. Will this simple solution lead to major issues if more schools say we have to be in the top league next year?

What these “Masters” need is to draw up a good document to bind the participants to the schools section that runs the tournament. Make them accept the rules and conditions so that ignorance is not a plea. Did we not learn from the Masters to be where we are? Is it not they who taught the basics to make boys be men of learning.

It is if and only when those little loopholes are left unattended that creates all the problems. At both levels of the game these pinholes must be treated and sealed so that it will not weaken the whole fabric by enlarging to be bigger holes.

Another part of the mixture is that the time has come for election of new guardians to the constituent bodies. The Schools Section, which should have had their meeting in November 2010 promises to have it competed in February. The often criticized referees had their change of horses done according to their law book and on time. The new guards are in place with Nizam Jamaldeen at the helm. In his words the priority is to build and foster a relationship that has broken down. Joining him are some veterans whose help will be invaluable.

The provinces too will a have their meetings on time leaving the last one being, that of the SLRFU, to be on time. It will be time to wipe away the dirt and keep the gold. Let us all hope that the mix will be seasoned and blend to give the right flavor for a better rugby 2011.

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

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