The Thomians have always been a formidable force in the school rugby scene (Pics by Eshan Dassanayake)

 The lads from Mount Lavinia have had mixed fortunes this season, but have been good enough to qualify for the Cup Championship

A team like S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia will always cherish its rich heritage in rugby. But the present lot at the school by the sea knows that these are not times to rest on ones laurels. The less affluent rugby playing schools are fast coming up. Rugby union is at present a game where all teams have an equal chance to shoot for the title. This season so far, the Thomians have had mixed fortunes. Despite two defeats the side has managed to make it to the Cup Championship of the Singer sponsored Inter-school league rugby tournament.

The boys have been training under the watchful eyes of New Zealander Tulagaese Tavita (fondly known as Laga) who carries so much experience about the island’s rugby and its environment. Tavita has handled adults, but he knows the schoolboy mentality and their capabilities. He once told this writer that the bar needs to be raised slowly in rugby where the performance of school children is concerned.

This year has been hard for the Thomians despite enjoying a decent season in 2016. Last season they showed signs of steamrolling over everybody, but the ‘Thomian Express’ crashed at the last station. They looked rock solid last season and were on top till they lost the decider in the league against Isipathana College amidst one of the largest gatherings witnessed at a school rugby match. As many as five players from that side went on to represent the under 18 Junior national team.

This season the side is led by winger and playmaker Henakankanamage Naveen. The strongly built lad was the highest try scorer last season. He has always been a thorn in the flesh for other teams when in full flight. Naveen has the services of senior players in the likes of full back Mayon Jayawardene, scrum half Dion Dias and flanker Christian De Lile who are a treat to watch when in possession of the ball.

The Thomians started the season with a bang beating Prince of Wales 57-0 and went on to record wins against Zahira (29-24) and Science (20-12), but lost key games against Wesley (23-19) and Trinity (29-14).

At the time of writing, the Thomians were expected to play against their archrivals Royal College. The match is played for the Michael Guneratne Trophy. The lads wearing the blue and black jerseys are also expected to play trophy matches against St. Peter’s College (Archibal Perera Trophy) and St. Joseph’s College (Lady Jayatilake Shield).

Going down memory lane, the Thomians have always been a force in the schools rugby scene and produced many national and club players over the years. Some of the national players they have produced in the recent past are Shavin Kapuwatte, Sudarshana Muthuthantri and Anurudhdha Willawara .

They had a lean season in 2012 and had to work their way to the Division 1 during the 2013 season. That year the side was led by Devin Jayasinghe and they not only earned a promotion to the Division 1 but also beat all the fancied teams contesting the top division because such fixtures were possible due to the arrangement of traditional matches played for trophies. The last time a Thomian team won a trophy in 15-a-side rugby was when Kapuwatte’s side won the Milo Knockout tournament in 2009.

So this seems a time once again where the Thomians have to prove their worth because the second round makes them play against teams like Isipathana, Joes and the Petes.

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