Goodbye Grant

The CR & FC sadly bids adieu to Grant Dwyer when he leaves Sri Lanka on the 17th of July. He was the CR & FC coach for the past two years. Steeped in the best traditions of Australian Rugby, players, members and even opponents were very impressed with his coaching skills. I believe that Grant Dwyer has set a new standard for Rugby coaching in Sri Lanka. He is indeed a role model coach. Grant will be taking up an assignment in the prestigious and elite English Rugby Club - Wasps. He will be holding the high office of the Club Rugby Development Manager.
The 33 year old Queenslander says that he was fortunate to become involved in playing rugby at Nudgee College in Brisbane where he attended boarding school and played both Rugby and Rugby league over a period of 20 years. As Grant leaves our shores he was quite emotional about the time he spent in Sri Lanka and said that Rugby provides a powerful culture and he can look back and see that a great number of his friends were borne out of the involvement in playing the game here and overseas. He thinks that this Rugby spirit is so important to the game and it is critical that it is maintained as it separates us from other sports.
Grant’s coaching achievements of note are having been involved with a number of Queensland junior schools and tertiary representative teams. His greatest buzz from coaching at this stage is seeing past members of teams now playing Super 14 for the Australian franchises and some being selected in the Wallabies Squad this year. One notable player being David Pocock, who made his Super 14 debut with the Western Force at 18 years of age. It was great for Grant to see these players going on to the next stage. He feels that it is important for coaches to realize that they play such an important role in the development of players in their formative years.
Grant who is accredited with a level two coaching certificate from the Australian Rugby Football Union is currently undertaking further studies in Applied Science Human Movements majoring in Sports Coaching through the University of Queensland and the Australian Institute of Sport . He feels that it is so competitive at the upper levels of coaching that it is now critical that coaches have specific sport’s qualifications other than rugby accreditation. “It just gives you so much more insight into building the athlete and avoiding breaking the athlete which is so important. Sports science now plays a crucial role in player performance on and off the field; you just need to look at the speed, strength, and endurance levels of current international players to see what separates the best from the rest” - words of wisdom from a man who has a great passion and love for the game.
Dwyer hopes to continue to educate himself and gain experience in coaching at all levels and has set a goal to be at the top of his game by the time he is 40, and in 7 years time he would like to be coaching in a high level fully professional league somewhere in Europe or Japan. His new appointment in England will bring him a step closer to achieving his goal.
His favourite rugby players are Arron Mauger and Leon McDonald from the Crusaders because they are 2 players who don’t receive the attention of other players but are the best in the world in their positions. Grant believes that Graham Henry is the best coach in the world at the moment and is one man who is constantly being innovative and trying new things on the field.
The CR & FC Rugby team will do their utmost to accord him with a farewell gift on Sunday the 16th of July and this will be the winning of the league trophy for which they will have to triumph by more than 5 points over the Reigning Champions – Kandy Sports Club.


Looking beyond the boundaries

By Ravi Nagahawatte
The skills in Sri Lankan sportsmen and women have often left foreign coaches and athletes astonished. The talent Sri Lankans display in cricket has helped the country earn international fame. As a result there have been many instances where Sri Lankans have found employment overseas through cricket. Other sportsmen and women aspire to reach great heights like the cricketers but often have a sad story to tell as to why they haven’t yet made it. If one makes a comparison between the cricketers who have reached international standards and the athletes who carry a grudge in their sporting careers it’s evident that those in the latter group haven’t been bold enough to explore the opportunities that the world has to offer.
Sri Lankans by nature are backward. As a result they are too dependent on what their parents or coaches bring them. This is why we see sportsmen and women with great potential fade away in the absence of a solid system in their respective sports.
But then again Sri Lanka had sportsmen like Nilantha Bandara Walisundara (Boxing), Dushanth Lewke (rugby) and Palitha Galapaththi (A fourth Dan Black Belt holder in Karate) who went abroad to gain the experience they needed when their respective sports bodies at home failed to provide them with what they needed to make progress in sport. Walisundara didn’t find satisfaction fighting in the ring at home so he went in search of a professional boxing licence to England and was successful. National rugby player Lewke was only playing in fits and starts before a stint with a second division club in New Zealand turned him into a better player who now has acquired the skill to take the ball forward regardless what the opposition is. Galapaththi, a renowned kyokushin karateka, didn’t experience the ultimate form of fighting till he took up fighting in K 1 tournaments. K 1 is a level of fighting where rules to stop a fighter from inflicting the maximum damage on an opponent don’t exist.
Opportunities come the way of Sri Lankan sportsmen and women when they come in contact with foreign coaches and players. Opportunities for sportsmen are huge at sporting events like South Asian Games, Rugby ASIAD or any other sporting event. This writer can recall how a local rugby club grabbed the fitness trainer-a Fijian national- of the Thailand national rugby team during a rugby union international played in Colombo. What most Sri Lankan sportsmen and women have failed to grasp is that the international circuit provides them with the best opportunities to get noticed. Our cricketers on the contrary seem to be masters at creating opportunities for themselves. Our own cricketers like Aravinda de Silva (Kent), Muttiah Muralitharan (Lancashire), Sanath Jayasuriya (Somerset) probably saw that they should have the experience of playing in a competitive domestic tournament before they hang up their cricket boots which is why they looked beyond the boundaries of Sri Lanka’s inter-club cricket tournament.
This is an era where a good many of the sporting bodies are governed by officials who don’t sport the best of qualifications. A good many of these officials make us believe that they are clueless as to what the sport needs, leave alone the requirements of the players. So its time that those who carry grudges against sports officials for not doing enough for them look for what’s on offer for them on planet earth.


Keheliya bats for Sri Lanka cricket

By Kenneth de Silva
Spectators who came to witness the Royal-Wesley Division I cricket tournament fixture were in for a pleasant surprise when they saw Minister Keheliya Rambukwella watching proceedings.
When ‘The Nation’ wanted to have a few words with Rambukwella he was most polite and obliging. When asked what his interest in the match was he replied, “My son Ramith is playing for the Royal team and I have followed his cricket, whenever possible, from the time he started playing at the under 11 age group.” The father must have been a happy man as young Ramith had done very well to score 34 against Wesley yesterday and 123 against Asoka Vidyalaya the previous day.
On being asked what his favourite sport was Minister Rambukwella said, “Definitely Cricket! I really love the game. I played for the 2nd X1 team at S. Thomas’ College and also played Table Tennis, Squash and Tennis.” With a hearty laugh he added, “I captained the under 15 teams at the three racket sports I played but I am definitely not a racketeer.”
Talking of ‘Grit’, a quality that Thomians are renowned for, he readily agreed, “Certainly yes! This quality has helped me right through life.”
The Minister was very emphatic when he spoke on the future of Sri Lanka cricket.” This is the only sport in which we have reached international standards and it is great to see our players standing up to the best teams in the world. Yet, I believe that we can do even better if we search out the talent in the outstations. At the moment the blend of youth and experience in our cricket is working out well. I am sure we will continue to succeed in the future.”


It’s time authorities booked rugby’s rowdies

By Shanil Abeynaike
Violence in school rugby has been on the increase in recent years. Both players and officials have been at the receiving end of these unruly incidents.
With a schools’ rugby season kicking-off, violence seems to be raising its ugly head with the latest episode being at the Western Province Under 20 seven’s tournament final between St. Peter’s College and Isipathana College, where the referee was at the receiving end of an assault by spectators.
Referee Nimal Somaratne says that a section of the crowd assaulted him after the conclusion of the match and that most of his attackers where under the influence of liquor. He had handed over a report on the incident to the officials concerned who promised that an immediate inquiry would be held.
Commenting on the incident Coach of Isipathana College, Hisham Abdeen, said that he believes that poor security measures during tournaments are the cause. Abdeen added that since outside persons are involved it is difficult to control the situation or identify those responsible.
Peterite Coach Sanath Martis, who is a top disciplinarian, believes such incidents tarnish the image of the game, but poor refereeing standards are also a cause for such incidents.
Media Spokesman for the Sri Lanka Society for Rugby Referees, M.R Moosa, said that they cannot take any action until they receive the report on the inquiry. They have also called for a meeting with the Schools’ Rugby Union to discuss security arrangements for referees at future matches and the referees’ committee will decide on future action to be taken after this meeting.
So what steps have the authorities taken regarding this incident and to stop such incidents occurring in the future?
According to the Prefect of Games Isipathana College, G.Sarathchandra, the college rugby committee has decided to obtain security from a private security company for referees officiating at all Isipathana College matches.
The President of the Western Province Schools’ Rugby Football Union, K. D. Punyadasa, who is also the Principal of Isipathana College, had witnessed this incident. He says that he cannot initiate an inquiry as he has not received a formal complaint, in writing, from the referee concerned.
On the accusation that he was not taking proper action on the matter as his school was involved, Mr. Punyadasa said that in an under 16 tournament match involving Royal college and Isipathana College he suspended both schools for three weeks. However, due to requests from both schools they were given a suspended sentence.
This was the first time such a sentence was given, even though he had faced stiff opposition from his own school. He added that he would do the same regarding this incident because he believes if such incidents were not stopped he would have to rethink about conducting tournaments in the future.
The Secretary of the Schools’ Rugby Football Union, Kumar Rodrigo, said that they have issued tough new guidelines regarding discipline at matches and schools found guilty of violent conduct will have a 12-month suspension in addition to being demoted.
Chief Executive Officer of the SLRFU, Dilroy Fernando, says he has asked the Schools’ Union to take immediate action regarding the incident. He has also scheduled a meeting with all school captains, coaches and masters in charge to advise them on the conduct expected during matches.
If prompt action is not taken to stop the occurrence of such incidents and they go unchecked, violence would only increase. This would result in past rugby players being reluctant to take up refereeing, as they would fear for their personal safety.
Many parents would also be reluctant to let their children take up the game of rugby which would be classified as a rowdy and unruly sport.


Cricket finals under lights

The ’86 batch of D.S Senanayake College will organize an inter-batch six-a-side cricket carnival which is scheduled to be held today at the College grounds from 8.00 a.m. onwards.
According to a press release issued by the organizing committee the special feature of this sporting event is that the finals will be played under flood lights.
The release further states that the funds generated from the tournament will be utilized for the development of the school.


CH&FC beat Havies 32-10

CH&FC scored a hard fought 32-10 win over Havelock’s Sports Club in a Caltex Inter-club rugby tournament fixture at Maitland Crescent yesterday.
The winners scored their points through four tries, three conversions and two penalties as against a try, a conversion and a penalty by Havelock’s SC.
The try of the match was scored by CH winger Nishantha Kumara who ran almost sixty meters to record the team’s first try.
Havelocks SC were guilty off too much kicking and also failed to finish off moves whenever the forwards clicked.
CH definitely looked the better side and scored through the efforts of M.Malewana (1 try), Zakir Badhurdeen (1 try) and Saliya Kumara (three conversions and two penalties). (RN)


SLAF beat Army 15-8

Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club recorded a rousing 15 points to 8 win over Army Sports Club in a second round Caltex Inter-club rugby tournament fixture at Ratmalana yesterday.
According to an official of the Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club the ‘Airmen’ had beaten Army SC for the first time after 1986. The scores were nil all at half time. (RN)


Trinity wins De Saram Shield

By Mariks our Kandy Correspondent
Trinity took home the Canon R.S.De Saram Shield by beating S.Thomas’ College 12 points to nil at Bogambara Stadium yesterday.
The Trinitians led 7-0 at half time.
Trinity juniors recorded a 5-0 win in the under-17 match that took place before the senior match.