Coaching the rugby team at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia is not an easy task and head coach Tulagaese Tavita will vouch for that. The Thomians are very passionate about their rugby, which exists in a College environment where tradition and culture standout like the tallest man in a line-out.
Tavita, fondly known as Laga, is no stranger to school rugby in Sri Lanka, but he knows there is hard work at hand because the majority of the players will not continue rugby after leaving school. “This is the time to get the best out of the boys. My aim is to raise the quality of the rugby they play,” Laga said in an interview with Nation.
The lads from the school by the sea have cleared a very important hurdle which is beating Royal at rugby. “This is a relief for everybody. If this win is big for me, it’s bigger for everyone else. Royal-Thomian culture is massive over here,” said the head coach whose team is led by Pandula de Silva.
As many as 30 hopefuls are attending practice with a dream to wear the First XV jersey. Training sessions don’t extend more than one and a half hours on the field each day and Laga said that the whiteboard is also used in classroom sessions when strategy is discussed. “You need to be careful with schoolboys because there is a limit when putting technical stuff into their heads,” he affirmed.
According to Laga the game against Trinity is given great importance as much as the fixture against Royal. Going by the coach’s calculations, the Thomians are ‘getting there’ slowly and his wish is for the boys to move up the ladder in rankings and win the league and knockout tournaments. But leave aside the glittery silver wear that’s on offer, the New Zealander underscored the importance of playing quality rugby in a league where all schools are even at present.
He appreciates the services of the entire coaching staff and said he never forgets to promote the spiritual side to rugby where players remind themselves that they are there for each other. “When in a team you must appreciate each other and support each other,” he said.
The Thomian rugby coach termed his chargers a ‘great bunch of kids’ who are receptive to his ideas, and fired a warning shot to other teams by saying, “This is a side that has made tremendous improvement and you’ll see them playing to their full potential pretty soon”.