|Royal win plaudits in schools rugby season
The Rugby Watch will endeavour to provide constructive criticism as and when ever it needs, and it is sincerely hoped the sports local administrators will be man enough, to take both bouquets and brickbats alike in their stride, as it is not the wish of Rugby Hawk to become a destructive critic.
Rugby Hawk will also be doing his utmost, to provide the dear readers with an in depth analysis on the sport here, with a view to keeping them informed on what actually takes place, both on and off the field.
Taking a look into the recently concluded Inter-school rugby season, it was obvious Royal College Colombo deserved to be ranked as the undisputed schools knock out champions.
Royal, one of the only two schools which remained unbeaten this season along-side Isipatana College, were head and shoulders above the rest.
Led by dynamic half back Zulkarnain Hamid and coached by Samoan Tulaga Tawita the lads from Reid Avenue, were akin to a rugby juggernaut brushing aside all opposition before them, on their way to the local rugby plum.
Royal of cause have only themselves to blame for missing out on the seasons rugby double, being penalised by the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association ( SLSRFA), for not giving their consent to play with Thurstan College during the Milo League.
The sports ruling body should be applauded for the bold step taken to stand firm on their decision making process and not be a square peg in a round hole.
Before Rugby Hawk could touch on the thorny issue of penalising teams and other inter-related matters, let me also say a word on St.Peters being declared as Milo League champions.
The lads from Bambalapitiya, led by Sri Lanka cap Dilanka Wijesekera and coached by ex-Patan Sunanda Fernando, were never in the running for the league trophy, but had it thrust on them by a strange quirk of fate.
Accepted the Peterites, had a decent team and they did pile up some cricket scores against lesser fancied teams, but they fell well short of being ranked as a top class schools outfit.
If by any chance had Royal played their game against Thurstan and won it, the Petes may have not been catapulted to the top slot.
Be that as it may, they had enough points on the board to be concerned at the finish, and duly carried away the cup much to the chagrin of Isipatana College.
Isipatana as everybody thought didnt emerge as the kings of local schools rugby for 2002. The school felt they were robbed of the League trophy by the (SLSRFA) officials.
Their grouse was that the schools governing body, should have awarded the trophy to them on the grounds, the green shirts were the only unbeaten team, following the expulsion of Royal from the League.
But if one were to delve into the final points table released by the (SLSRFA), it is clear the Peterites had scored more goals and tries than Isipatana to be the front runners to pocket the cup.
And that is what exactly took place at the end, as a result of which Dilanka Wijesekeras men, were seen tasting the sweet taste of success after a hectic schools season.Hawke-eyed Rugby Hawke, also wishes to highlight a few other schools teams, and some players, who caught the attention of the ever growing number of schools rugby spectators this year.
The ruggerites of Wesley College, termed as the giant killers initially, failed to live up to that status as the season went on.
Another top rugby playing schools team S.Thomas College, of whom much was expected by the rugby crowds here, ended the season conceding victories by record margins to their rivals.A clear case in point is the 3-38 score, recorded against them by the Royalists.
But to be fair by them, it must be pointed out that the Thomians had at least 10 freshers turning out for them, and they should work even harder under the tutelage of coach Ajith Abeyrathne, to be a real force come year 2003.
In Rugby Hawkes book, the player who excelled beyond ones wildest dreams, was none other than that gazelle like winger from St.Peters Mohamed Rinaz ,whom Rugby Hawk felt re-wrote the record books, with his remarkable try scoring feats.
Thirty tries at any given time during a single season is a monumental achievement by any ruggerite, and Rinazs feat should be taken note of by the selectors seriously, with a view to the future prospects of Sri Lanka rugby.
From Royal, centre Rajith Jayasundere winger Lakshman Dissanayake, flanker Kushan Athukorale, number eight Dushanth Lewke, prop forward Shamil Mohammed scaled the schools rugby summit.
From St,Peters besides skipper Dilanka Wijesekera and record breaking winger Mohammed Rinaz, centre cum full back Philip Esingharachchi and fly half Dinuka Jayasinghe did their alma-mater proud.
What happened this year, should be an eye opener for future tournaments, as the SLSRFA could ill afford to see prominent schools teams of the likes of Isipatana, boycotting the knock out tournaments in the years to come.
The Patans who have clinched seven knock out titles in the tournaments 17 year history, quit the 2002 knock out in protest at the turn of events during the league.
Rugby Hawk wishes to leave it to our valued readers, to come to their own judgements on this issue.
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