Royal College will deploy their best fifteen players for the second leg Bradby Shield rugby match against Trinity College to be played on Saturday in their own den at the Royal Complex ground in Colombo.
The Royalists undoubtedly take the field as favourites after their first leg win that broke a four-year hoodoo of not winning in Trinity’s home Pallekele.
Overall while Royal have to overcome the haunting phobia of not winning the Bradby over the past four years, Trinity will have only themselves to blame if they fail to retain the Shield for a fifth successive year.
The main reason why Royal are considered favourites is that Trinity have not been able to match them up-front at forwards play. Royal with a robustly better and mobile set of forwards are able to supplement any shortcoming on the part of their backs.
Royal were very rarely able to indulge in the rolling maul up in Pallekele, but are expected to deploy the tactic which they have successfully executed on their home turf.
Trinity smarting from the one-point defeat in the first leg two weeks ago, will have to get just one thing right to stifle Royal and that is to tackle them the first time which may not be impossible given the fact that the Lions did it to an extent in Pallekele.
The Trinitians no doubt have the firepower to adjust and play away from home.
Too much emphasis cannot be placed on past results when assessing the game whenever these two sides are pitted against each other.
It is hoped that conditions will permit the two teams to indulge in the brand of fast open rugby for which both are well known.
On paper Royal, away from Bradby fever, is currently playing as arguably the best team in the inter school League championship. They achieved what they promised and that was to break the Pallekelle hoodoo. Royal also did not play up to their potential in the first leg which was justified when having to battle a jinx as well.
But should Royal play the way they always play while taking on their opponents upfront and beyond, then Trinity will be in for a tougher time.
To win Trinity will have to play their match of the season for such is Royal’s potential to overcome.
The match will be played under the patronage of one of the oldest living Royalists, Summa Nawaratnam who celebrated his 90th birthday last week.
Summa as he is known led Royal College in 1943 to beat Trinity by 5 points to 3 in the first leg.
Summa’s 1943 team was made out of players like HC Aldons, G. Rajapakse, EV Pereira, ED Silva, C. Kannangara, F. Aldons, S. Wickramasuriya, A. Amerasinghe, CL Gunasekara, M. Amerasinghe, N. Vanculenburg, D. de Moor, A. Drieberg and CDL Fernando.
After his school career, Summa was keen to play for Havelock Sports Club, but it was Sydney de Zoysa the great Royal player and coach who wanted him to play for CR and FC.
Subsequently Summa led CR and FC in the years 1954 and 1955 to beat Kandy Sports Club in the Clifford Cup final while also representing the national team.
As a rugby coach Summa produced some top class players from schools like Royal, S. Thomas’, Isipathana, Wesley, Ananda and from the clubs CR and FC and Police.
He coached the Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) team in 1968 and was at one time the president of CR and FC and the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.