CR&FC will be one of the top teams contesting the inter-club league rugby tournament sans expatriates in their line-up (File Photo

Meet the rugby clubs contesting the Dialog League Rugby Tournament

By Indika Amarasinghe

The Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club (CR&FC) as one of the oldest rugby playing clubs in the county will fire all cylinders in the upcoming 2015/16 inter-club league rugby season with the aim of bringing back to the club the prestigious league crown which has eluded them for the past 17 long years.

They last won the coveted league title in 1998 under the leadership of former Isipathana College captain and scum scrum half Champika Nishantha, when they emerged as the undisputed King’s in the domestic rugby arena. In achieving this feat they also became unbeaten triple champions, bringing home all the trophies that were on offer that season.

That year the unsung hero for CR was their attacking number eight Nalin Wijegunawardana , an ex national player and Thomian captain, now domiciled in Switzerland.

CR will be strengthen this up-coming rugby season with the inclusion of talented players of the likes of former Navy/Army centre Bhanuka Nanayakkara, Upcountry Lions/Army winger Kavindu Perera, Police/Upcountry Lions utility three quarter Shanaka Perera, Upcountry Lions/Army winger Shashan Mohammad, National Under 20 and Royal College league trophy winning team member and this year’s highest try scorer number eight Supun Warnakulasuriya (who is a master at the rolling maul), Kandy/Navy and national flanker Jason Dissanayaka,  National junior ASIAD skipper and fly half Tharinda Ratwatte (son of ex national scrum half and Trinity Lion Ashan Ratwatte), Army full back Prince Chamara, Havies and national scrum half Kavindu De Costha and Isipathana College full back Rehan Silva.

The professionalism coming into the rugby the domestic arena together with the competition among players, have made two promising players, Scrum half  Rahul De Silva and lanky second row Sithum Peiris, leave the club and join Havelock’s.

Nevertheless CR has retained all most all the players that did duty for them last season.

Speaking exclusively to The Nation Christopher Jordashe – a past president of CR and FC said, ” Going by our present rugby squad, I sincerely hope we can break the 17-year-old hoodoo this year and bring back the league crown to Longden Place, failing which we definitely have the armor to be within the second or third places for sure,”.  Jordash is a one time a Clifford Cup wining CR skipper and a national centre.

This year the club will be captained by one of their loyal members, ex Peterite second row forward Ishan Noor.

The coaching staff comprises head coach Inthisham Marikkar, Shamly Nawaz (who is in charge of the forwards) and S. Mushtaq (Assistant coach and handling the three quarters). The vastly experienced former national rugby player and boxer Dunstan De Silva will function as the manager of the team.

CR will come out for the first time this season hosting Army SC on November 21(Saturday) with the kick off scheduled for 4:00pm at Longden place.