The new force in schools rugby Science College found themselves at the crossroads when they entered the Milo Knock-Out inter school rugby final and realized they had come too far to turn back.
“At the start of the season our target was to end up in the top four”, said Science’s champion coach Colin Denish. “But after we beat St. Peter’s College we realized we can beat any team and the boys took the field wearing a slogan on their forehead which read Now Our Never”.
True to their instant motto, Science College lived up to the occasion in front of a packed Royal College Sports Complex venue and beat the favourite Isipathana College 21-18 in last Sunday’s final to bag a major title for the first time.
Known by their previous name of Sathissara which later changed into Science College, the newest champs in the schools rugby arena have come to stay. Predictions point out to Science College playing as a stronger force next season with only three players set to leave school while the rest will be in tact.
Contrary to what the experts figured out, Science College had in fact considered themselves favourites to win the Knock-Out final after realizing Isipathana had only escaped in their League fixture although the margin of defeat was 27-49.
“The boys learnt a lot from that (league) match against Isipathana. Though we lost we were scoring at regular intervals. What we needed to do was tighten up our defences which we got right and it worked in the final,” said Denish.
Denish said that Science College had players who could have matched any team and that was the factor that made them believe nothing was impossible on the field of play.
“We had skilled forwards. In fact I can without any doubt say that we had the best players capable of taking on and beating the opposition. It was a matter of belief in ourselves,” said Denish.
Answering critics who claimed that Science College had benefited in the semi-finals as Royal College rested nine of their champion players who won the League, Denish declared: “When you talk of Royal College you talk of a team that has the best facilities for their players and so even their second strong players are formidable opponents and well prepared for the occasion. Can any team beat Royal College by 50 points. So to say that we benefited because Royal fielded a scaled down team is nonsense. We earned our passage to the final well and truly and we proved it by beating Isipathana who was everyone’s favourite to win”.
Denish said that his players are now on par with all ranked teams and that the school can look forward to bigger things in the coming years.
“I think gone are those days when Science College just made up the numbers in the League. We are here to stay and the boys will never be carried away. They are level-headed. Next year all teams will be lined up to beat us,” said Denish.
Science College’s triumph was also a personal victory for Denish whose contract at St. Peter’s College, which he captained in 1989, was not extended as they felt he did not have the potential to mould a champion team.
“At St. Peter’s College they thought I cannot win trophies. What more can I say now”, asked Denish.
Ironically, St. Peter’s College was the only team that could not cross Science College’s defence during the League round with the match ending in a 34-3 result in favour of the Mount Lavinia schoolboys.