In around 400 BC the Hunnish emperor Attila said “Romans have done great things but their time is past. What they have done we can do better, we must rule the world”. When we read of the chaotic situation of school rugby possibly somebody has to say time is up. That somebody has to be [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Time is ripe to go back to the good old friendlies


In around 400 BC the Hunnish emperor Attila said “Romans have done great things but their time is past. What they have done we can do better, we must rule the world”. When we read of the chaotic situation of school rugby possibly somebody has to say time is up. That somebody has to be the SLRFU and the Ministry of Sport who need to have a plan to work with the schools. If it is not the time to go at least they must be prepared to hunt and be equipped with the best bow and lace.

That is where they need to be guided by the governors of rugby the SLRFU and or the IRB in buying the best bow and lace. It was not long ago that the schools head Ranjith Chandrasekera said that they have nothing to do with the SLRFU or IRB. It is time to understand that rugby is a physical game with complex issues that have to be dealt with. The IRB has a solution or guideline somewhere for most of these things and the SLRFU are the custodians of the game on behalf the IRB.

It was another chaotic situation in Kandy on the 27th where players fought each other and the Kingswood vs. St Anthony’s College Kandy had to be abandoned. The next day saw the Royal-Dharmaraja match stopped for around 10 minutes due to the boisterous behavior of the crowd.

Missiles were thrown at the assistant referee as the referee ordered a penalty when the game was around 25 minutes old in the second half. The area from where the missiles were thrown was occupied by a section of a crowd consisting of schoolboys who were in school attire.

The need to work closely with SLRFU is much needed as violence continues and it is through the SLRFU that suspensions can be more effectively enforced. The season being over otherwise the perpetrators of violence will go scot free. A case in point is the impersonator in the Vidyartha fiasco who is free to play despite the severity of the crime.

Today the game of rugby has reached a new crescendo of violence and hooliganism which pales more significant events to the back ground. People other than frenzied Dharmaraja supporters done talk about winning the A division league having been in the ‘B’ segment only last year: This is not what they have become famous for. Once again the behaviour at the RC complex shows that the winners are not the type that promotes the game of rugby in its correct spirit.

S. Thomas’ College a ‘B’ division side beat three ‘A’ division sides is also in the back ground. Nobody talks about the spirit of rugby that prevailed as top schools succumbed to the lower division school. Nobody talks about the manner in which Thomas supporters accepted losing to ‘B’ division minnows.

Why and or what reasons that takes the game to this unprecedented level of indiscipline. I repeat what I have said before said before fighting for piece of metal must end. I repeat it is this joy of annexing a cheap piece of metal and or staying to fight for the piece another days that has made this system bad. Get back to a friendly game system which will not upset the funding for the emerging schools. This is where the schools must get together with the SLRFU and work out a system. Attila in 400 BC said “wise is the chieftain who never makes a decision when he does not understand an issue.” The problem is that it appears that the chief’s have not understood the issue.

Luck was with rugby and the organizers as the structure of Bogambara virtually caged the spectators who could not invaded the field with ease. That probably saved the day in Kandy and heavy police presence saved the day at the Royal Complex.

A area that stuck my head was the place of moral law or obedience in laying plans in a war and its applicability to a physical confrontational game like rugby. The need of strategy as in war to obtain the object of winning without fighting for which practice is the key while directing energy creatively in time to win the game as in war. The moral law I talk of above is about being in harmony and in rugby it is about integrity, passion solidarity discipline and respect.

Competition is a given expectation in every sport and people crowd rugby fields as contest thrills them. If you observe carefully, you’ll notice that a lot of sports including rugby aren’t very different from warfare in that strength, strategy, and victory play key parts in the outcome. The lesson of warfare is to help sport and particularly rugby in the ways in which it is possible to win through outsmarting the opponents.

The Art of War in Sport is about planning and winning a game and not about fighting with each other. I wonder whether the fault lies on the commander and the few yes men who should have had wisdom, sincerity, humanity courage and firmness to handle the situation and take the game forward at schools. If not does he have the quality of leadership to get the advice of an overall commander? The capacity of organization and control to correct the situation that is going out of hand should be priority 1.
It is time to stop making somebody the scapegoat and very often it is the referee on whose lap all dirt falls to as the problem lies with match organizers.

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

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