National rugby to the fore

As I write this article there are the usual utterances about dissention and concern of the selection of the Sri Lanka team and captaincy for the A5N match against UAE. That was adequate to keep tongues wagging and to begin a chapter of a plot that was never completed. The mongers of “have you heard” had to take a back seat when it was reported that all who were selected for national duty were sticking together. By the time you read this article we will also know the results of the first match that Sri Lanka played against the UAE. It will not be the end of the road but another step to reach another milestone.

There may have been a difference of opinion but at the end of the day a positive statement appeared in the press that there was no objection to the appointment of a captain. It is national duty that comes first.

If people recognize conflicts instead of sweeping them under the rug; recognize them for what they are. Learn to address them constructively; the result will be a decrease in the negative effects of poorly managed conflicts and an increase in the benefits that come from conflict managed constructively.

The positive way to look at the issues that surfaced is to seek satisfaction that the team that was selected stays and plays together for the A5N. This will help to build a team. In building teams disputes inevitably occur sometimes ranging from minor differences in opinion, to fundamental differences in ideology. Such disagreements when handled constructively, ensures that the team remains focused on achieving its goals. People should stand back from any disagreements and look at things objectively. By doing this, any differences between the team can be more easily resolved and possible conflicts can be avoided. If disagreement was used to making it good for rugby, you are on track. It is the creativity, the sudden change and the innovation that makes a player see and hit a gap and score a try.

The Lankan rugby squad while at training for the five Nations. Pic by Sanka Vidanagama

If this is what persuaded a team that practiced so hard to finally stay together as national duty is important then you have done something worthwhile as we meet the challenges of the A5N. Be focused on the issue on hand than give precedence to the personal fantasies. A message I hope will be taken to all who aspire to lead rugby to the next level. A message to those who continue to distract: be being nasty to each other while destructing the fabric of rugby.

Yet one must always be aware that there will be others who will want to stir the pot that is boiling. Watch for them avoid distraction and get about your job. What is your job? “That is to be the among the five rugby nations of Asia”.

At the start of the day we have agreement on the selections and the selectors. The threat that loomed never materialized. Yet we cannot deny that there were distractions and dissention. Then that would have been a good cause for the captain and the team to perform.

Next is to meet another two giants of Asia, Hong Kong and Japan. A rare opportunity as these two are matched in addition to the UAE match here on home soil. At the moment National Rugby takes the front seat while schools rugby is not on this week. Yet there are number of school matches on the dates that the next two games are played. They too have task to perform. That is to finish the league and give the boys a rest for exams.

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

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