Rugby at Wesley College has found stability after many years of hard work, experiment and sacrifice. Many coaches have made their inputs to rugby at this school in recent years. The result has been the formation of a team which can challenge some of the toughest teams contesting the inter-school league rugby tournament.
The present head coach in charge of Wesley rugby Jivan Goonetilleke told Nation that it is very easy to coach these lads because they show so much passion for the game. “It’s pretty much a rugby culture here at Wesley and there is so much interest for the game starting from junior levels,” said Goonatilleke who also coached them in 2012.
According to Goonatilleke his focus is on strengthening the rugby structure at school. He said that when a school has a proper rugby structure in place, what you have at the top filters to the bottom. He said he also has a focus on the juniors and added, “It’s essential that the juniors have a solid knowledge of the basics. You can’t be teaching them what a ruck and maul is when they come to play senior rugby,” reflected the former Thomain rugby captain who is serving a two-year coaching contract with Wesley.
Wesley created a tremor in school rugby in 2013 by emerging as President’s Trophy Champions, their finest performance in school rugby to date. They have ridden on that success wave and build themselves up over the years into a unit which is causing headaches to most top teams.
The boys wearing the double blue jersey came close to sniffing victory this season against Trinity (lost 7-5) and Royal (lost 17-14), two performances which brought them under the spotlight. “These performances gave the Wesley supporters a lot of hope. The boys are optimistic and we are hoping for a top four finish in the league,” said Goonatilleke. Wesley lost to S. Thomas’ 19-0, but beat St. Joseph’s 19-10 and D.S. Senanayake 64-14.
Wesley captain T. Zayan Sabar (who plays as prop forward) has the services of a talented bunch of players, who, except for three, can play next year as well.
These rugby players have the services of Amal Pathirana (assistant coach/trainer) and MIC Wimal Bandara. The school’s rugby also receives the support of the Rugby Committee which is headed by Capt. Navin de Silva.