A school that at one time reached great heights in the field of rugby was St. Anthony’s College Katugastota. In the last couple of years, they have failed to live up to expectations. However, this year they are determined to do well despite losing their first two matches for the season which were against Science College and Isipathana College. On April 16 (Saturday) they are scheduled to play against St. Peter’s College at Nittawella. Their next two games are against Dharmaraja College (April 23) and Kingswood College (April 30). Both matches will be played at Bogambara Stadium.
Anthonians took to rugby long after the schools introduced sports like cricket, boxing, hockey, football and athletics. It was in the 1950s that the Antonians started playing rugby at Katugastota. Bruce Winter was their first captain. Old Trinitian Bobby Jayaweera spared no pains to teach the Antonians how they should handle the oval shaped ball. Another name that merits mention in the coaching department is Maurice Perera.
Though they started rugby in the 1950s it was only in 1961 that an unprecedented enthusiasm was created for rugby. Four members of the 1967 team in the likes of Basil Hyde, Malcolm Dias, H.M. Kuthdoos and Randy Sims, won their rugby Colors for outstanding performances.
Out of all the Antonian Ruggerites Priyantha Ekanayake stands tall. He became the first Antonian to captain the Sri Lanka rugby team. Priyantha captained the national side in four consecutive rugby Asiads.
St. Anthony’s are hard at practice these days. There are about thirty five players attending practice. Antonian rugby is fully supported by Antonian Rugby Trust Fund led by Chamila Bandara. They also have the support of the OBA led by President Mark Stephen. This writer acknowledges the efforts taken by former Antonian rugby player Indika Perera for providing Nation with team details.
The players are supervised by the Old Antonians Rugby Football Club headed by Technical Committee Chairman Lasantha Wijesuriya. The rugby players have the blessings of Principal Rev .Fr . Henry Wijeratne. Accordining to Wijesuriya, the side is blessed with knowledgeable ruggerites, He believes that the players will make a comeback despite the start being not so promising. The team is coached by the experienced Nihal Viper Gunarathne. He is assisted by Nalaka Weerakkody. The Prefect of Games is Capt. Sampath Alexander and the MIC is Dinesh Bamuniisinghe.
The Antonians are led by second row forward Pasindu Dulshan who is a good player and a fine leader.