Brian Baptist to boost CH rugby

By Bernie Wijesekera

Bryan Baptist, the former Sri Lanka, CH and Royal flanker is the Rugby Consultant for the CH&FC for the forthcoming Inter-Club Rugby Season. This was revealed to the Sunday Times by Shane Dullewa, Chairman, Gymkhana Club. This year the mantle of forging CH’s rugby ahead has fallen on Dullewa’s broad shoulders and he has taken a positive step in seeking Bryan Baptist’s support.

Baptist excelled for Royal as a bustling third-row-forward and then he put in his weight behind CH and was an automatic choice for the national team. Bryan was more of a team man and was at the base of many attacking moves for his club and country.

Bryan was the first Sri Lankan to lead the CH in 1971. Before that the club boasted of foreigners such as Neville Leafe, John Burrows, Mike Davis and Simon Hunter to name a few. Bryan was put through his phases at Royal by Double International (rugby and cricket) the late Mahes Rodrigo.Shane Dulewa, a former Trinity product who also played rugby for Kelani Valley, is dismayed by CH’s performance last year where they were placed just ahead of Havelocks.

They had a squad of 30 players in training last year and gave a rousing game against Navy where they lost narrowly at 3-10 at Welisara. Dullewa says that there should be a qualifying period for a player to play for a new club and that the SLRFU should make it a rule, or else there will not be any discipline and rugby will be the loser at the end.

“At the moment my rugby committee is working on a firm structure to forge ahead with youth and a handful of experienced players. Nishanta Alex the former Havelocks player will be the coach and Brian will be the honorary consultant,” said Shane.

Bryan is presently in Turkey training 50 youngsters in tea-tasting and will be back at the CH in April. Bryan is also Chairman of the Rugby Union’s Disciplinary Committee, a post which he is expected to relinquish on his return.

CH has already started training for the rugby season. PrasannanWimalasuriya is the Club’s Rugby Chairman, Anver Jayah is the Manager and Karunaratne (former Army trainer) is in charge of the training.

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