St. Peter’s College rugby team - Pics by Kasun Fernando

Coach Colin Denish takes the lads from Bambalapitiya  on a sporting journey where team effort has proved to be the mantra for success

St. Peter’s College have over a matter of few weeks turned themselves from an average side to be giant killers, but coach Colin Denish believes quality and discipline have to be maintained at all costs. Coach Denish sees no favourite side which can win the plum this season and told Nation in an interview that the team that plays the best rugby any given day can emerge as the victor.
This is what exactly happened at the game against Isipathana College in their own backyard where they pulled off a stunning 32-15 win. It’s the first time that Denish as head coach of St. Peter’s saw his chargers beating the Green Shirts. According to Denish the win has boosted the morale of the boys and aided in the team in peaking at the right time.

The coach has taught the boys to be humble in victory and complacent rather than let the success go their heads. On the day of the game against Isipathana an old Peterite was heard saying, “There are no stars in this Peterite side. Only a team effort can help them win”. Denish endorses this comment. “Ours is an average side which is working hard and sticking to the basics. Defence together with attitude plays a big role,” explained Denish.
The Peterites have so far beaten St. Anthony’s 27-25, D.S Senanayake 36-5, but lost to Royal 17-10 during a season where all their performances, except against Royal, were appreciated by their loyal fans who have travelled with them in their rugby journey this season.

St. Peter’s College is a Catholic institute which has kids representing a cross section of the society.  A good number of students are playing rugby which can be termed the most popular sport at this school.  The underlying factor is that they are kids at the end of the day despite coaches wanting them to train and play like adults.  “The demands on school rugby players have increased so much over the years. However we coaches can’t for a moment forget that we are dealing with kids. I don’t demand that they got to the gym and become huge players. All I want them to have is a large heart to play rugby,” Denish affirmed.

Denish has had coaching assignments with other schools and the junior national team. He has coached players who represent a cross section of the society. He carries a lot of experience where coaching and mentoring players are concerned. But he shows some concern regarding the present generation of rugby players and warns that they can be found wanting if they encounter a situation where commonsense is needed to respond to a challenge. “The main reason for this is that kids see some of the most vital daily tasks being done for them by their parents. Another reason which has contributed to this is the high use of technology in the lives of kids,” he opined.

Denish is assisted this season by Terrence Henry who is the forwards coach. The only two known players in the side are skipper Diyath Fernando and one of the vice captains Stephen Sivaraj. The rest are gelling together and working hard at perfecting their game in the set pieces, restarts, touch kicking and tackling. For the record, the Peterites have not given away any yellow cards this season which underscores the discipline maintained by the boys.

As much as the coach has a vision for the players in the sport of rugby, the school authorities expect these children to excel in studies and be ready to step into the corporate world. “Discipline is needed to be a rugby player and this way of moulding a child helps in the education process too. A school kid can’t go out of the frame,” he said.

Denish wants the Peterites to finish the season on a high. He was brimming with confidence when this writer met him days before his team played traditional rivals St. Joseph’s for the Fr. Basil Weerathunga Shield. He often stresses on team effort, a factor most vital for success when these players step into the corporate world in search of employment.

St. Peter’s College rugby team (2)