Unruffled Royal College showed their detractors how to contest and win a title deciding match as they beat an inflamed Isipathana College by 21 points to 8 to bag the inter-school League rugby championship in front of a monumental crowd at the Royal Sports Complex ground in Colombo on Saturday.
The scores may indicate very little of how Royal had the match in complete control right from the start as Isipathana for once in the season looked a team that played like an un-fancied underdog that had lost its bark and bite to be outplayed into total submission.
Never did Royal’s forwards dominate a team this season the way they did while Isipathana could resort to nothing and with as many as 12 ball-handling errors winning was out of the question for the defending champions .
Royal Number Eight Supun Warnakulasuriya showed just why he could win an award as the most improved and pick of the players this season while he scored two tries through their trademark rolling maul which perhaps got away when Isipathana held them for brief moments in the first half and referee Anura Rankothge turned a blind eye beyond permitted five seconds when it stopped.
But Isipathana’s overall drawbacks were such that Royal could merely stick to the basics and keep it simple to an extent that the match was even over midway in the second half when the home team scored their third try to take a 21-8 lead.
Warnakulasuriya was an embodiment of composure as he took up position like a smiling assassin while the Isipathana players mocked and intimidated him before kick-off.
Eventually Warnakulasuriya laughed his way into the dressing room and to add to Isipathana’s ball-handling errors, they conceded Royal no less than 15 penalties and had just four come their way which only showed the difference between the two sides.
Isipathana’s backs hardly ran the ball, the result of some crippling tackling by the Royalists who succeeded in bringing down their opponents at the first opportunity nine out of ten times.
Nearly everything worked for the winners and it appeared they went in with the perfect formula to subdue a team that entered the match on a pedestal. Perhaps the writing was on the wall for Isipathana when Royal slowed down the game from the start never allowing them to indulge in their customary fast paced game.