If you happen to walk into the, Thurstan College grounds at Bullers Lane you are sure to be overwhelmed by this sports facility. There are two grounds, one for cricket and the other for that robust game known as rugby union. But don’t be fooled. Rugby at Thurstan is not close to perfection as yet. This is why Thurstan rugby should be taken seriously. Any team working towards perfection will win the respect of opponents. This is what is happening at Thurstan College. These rugby players are working towards improvement and hope to finish off the season in style.
Thurstan College Rugby Convener Ajith Fernando told Nation that the coaching staff headed by Achala Perera is trying to instill the winning habit in the boys. They were the favourites against Mahanama, but being complacent didn’t help them. They lost this game 20-17 and according to Fernando the reason was ‘underestimating the opponents’.
The best thing about Thurstan rugby this season is that there are no stars in the side. “This is good because then the responsibility of winning and losing is shared. The side is disciplined and commitment is high,” is how Fernando gave this writer a brief description of the side.
These lads are contesting Division 1 Segment 2 A of the under 20 Inter-school League Rugby Tournament. They have already beaten St. Benedict’s (33-10) and Piliyandala Central (44-10). There are upcoming games against Vidyartha and
Prince of Wales.
There are about 45 players, vying for the First XV jersey and practices are held five days for the week with two days set aside for gym training. Fernando observed that most parents want their children to study, which is distant from the goal from what Fernando has planned for the boys. “I try my best to convince the parents that if someone takes his playing to a very high level and ends up wearing the national jersey as a professional player, the good living standard can be created for oneself,” affirmed Fernando. He believes that players should find the right balance when it comes to studies and rugby. The best example for this is Thurstan rugby captain of 2005 Amila Eranga obtaining the necessary qualification to enter Sri Jayawardenepura University.
According to Fernando, Thurstan rugby is making good progress with the support of Thurstan Rugby Club. The team receives the support of Principal E.M.S Ekanayake and MIC Nalaka Danaseela. The team this season is captained by Tisum Palihawadana. The side has the services of Chanaka Chandimal as assistant coach and Mohammed Akram as the trainer.