Meet the Rugby Clubs
Head coach Sean Wijesinghe warns the challenge to remain unbeaten is tougher compared to past seasons
By Indika Amarasinghe
Kandy Sports Club, which has the ammunition to produce stellar rugby, lived up to expectations last season by winning all three major trophies on offer (League, Clifford Cup and seven’s). This season too their goals haven’t changed one bit and under head coach Sean Wijesinghe the players from Nittawela are working hard towards retaining their top position in domestic rugby.
Wijesinghe sees retaining the top spot as a challenge that grows with every season. “The real concern is that every club in Sri Lanka wants to beat us no matter whether it is Air Force or CH and FC, because at present we are the reigning champions. Due to this factor, when going into a game we are under tremendous pressure,” said Wijesinghe who will be assisted in coaching by Nalaka Weerakkody and Saliya Kumara.
He also said that the team is carrying forward a legacy in the form of a rich rugby tradition and there were high expectations from the crowd. “We have to somehow deliver the goods by winning all the games for them,” said Wijesinghe whose chargers will be seen in action for the first time this season on November 22 (Sunday) when the club hosts CH and FC at Nittawela. The kick off will be at 4:00pm.
Kandy SC is in a way in search of past glories. In the upcoming 2015/16 season they will have some of the best players in the country and the team is led by that hugely experienced fly half ex-Kingswood and Sri Lanka skipper Fazil Marija.
The Kandy SC coaching staff needs no introduction with Wijesinghe’s carrying loads of experience having represented Trinity College and Sri Lanka. Wijesinghe will be ably assisted by former Kandy and Sri Lanka full back Nalaka Weerakkody and Saliya Kumara. The Manager of the side is former Isipathana College, CR and FC and Kandy SC player Kapila Silva.
In an interview with The Nation coach Wijesinghe said, “I’m really happy with the squad of players that I have got this season. We have a mixture of both youth and experienced players. I only have to motivate them and do a bit of a fine-tuning and I personally believe they will deliver the results at the end,” he opined.
“We are looking forward to a real competitive rugby season ahead and it’s a battle between five clubs- namely Kandy, CR and FC, Navy, Police and Havelock’s. Finally for me, it’s all about one school, one club and one nation,” said the Kandy SC coach who had offered his services as a player only to Trinity College, Kandy SC and Sri Lanka.
There are many new faces turning out for them this season out of which some of the well-known National players are Diminutive utility three quarter Srinath Sooriyabandara, winger Wishvamithra Jayasinghe, third row forwards Shehan “ Lema” Pathirana and Soyuru Anthony, who are all out to give a good display of rugby for their club Kandy SC.
The Kandy squad comprises Fazil Marija (Captain), Roshan Weeraratne, Gayan Weeratne, Kishore Jehan, Gayan Jayawardane, Asitha Ratnayake, Damitha Dissanayake, Lavanga Perera, Oshan Perera, Dansha Dayan, Anuruddha Wilwara, Pumal Manchanayake, Uchitha Jayasooriya, Lasitha Maduranga, Thilina Wijesinghe, Tharindu Chanaka, Richard Dharmapala, Heshan Kalhara, Gayan Ratnayake, Arshad Jamaldeen, Yakoob Ali, Nigel Ratwatte, Buwanaka Udangamuwa, Dimithri Wijetunga, Chanaka Bandara, Lochana Girihagama, Shehan ” Lema” Pathirana, Vishwamithra Jayasinghe, Srinath Sooriyabandara, Soyuru Anthony, Thisila Karunathilake, Faizal Marija, Raveen de Silva, Saliya Kumara and Fazrul Rahuman.