Behind The Scenes Of Trinity Rugby

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May - 8 - 2011
D.C. Bandara

The prestigious institution up on the hills, Trinity College Kandy is one of the schools in the forefront of the schools sporting scenario. But in a Cricket mad nation it is Rugby that is considered to be the premiere sport in this college. Trinity is synonymous with the game of Rugby. Trinity Rugby was once referred to as the cradle of Rugby in Sri Lank and the saying goes that Trinitians take to Rugby like ducks to water. Under these circumstances ruggerites are celebrated as absolute gems. The splendorous jersey itself reflects a century of unwritten tradition. Over the years this school has played a unique brand of Rugby without considering victory the soul intention. The ultimate objective of Trinity Rugby has always being to produce all-round gentlemen with correct attitude, for the wellbeing of society. This enchanting mantra has captivated many a hearts and created Trinitarianism.

Behind all glitz and glamour there are many personalities who have dedicated their hearts and souls to get the show on the road. Among them the coaching staff plays an indescribable role. Lead by the overall consultant, former Classic All black and Twickenham Rugby Club representative Niel Foote, the Trinity think-tank is built up with local and international expertise. The New Zealander holds the distinction of being the deputy coach for the legendary Barbarians side against upcoming Portugal. In spite of his reputation Foote has always tried to fit into the traditional system at Trinity. In an institution which regards tradition as its greatest pride, applying professionalism should be done in a methodical manner. Last year Trinity coach Welshman Martin Jones missed the trick in this area. Jones’s highly professional and intense coaching techniques alienated teenage scholars who played the game for the love of it. Comparatively Neile Foote has done a brilliant job to gel with the lads and win their hearts. So far he has become more than a coach for the team.

Master tactician Nilufer Ibrahim who revolutionized school boy Rugby in recent past is another hidden giant. Nilufer is working hard especially with the back line of the side who has being very impressive so far in the current season. He is a public relations magnet with a calm head on his shoulders. This attribute has helped Nilufer Ibrahim to have a good rapport with players.

One of the unsung heroes of Sri Lankan Rugby Dileep Selvam uses his might and main for the betterment of the oval shaped ball game at his alma-mater. This great servant of the game works with the heavy forwards who have already earned the reputation as one of the most enthusiastic work horses in this year’s league. Apart from executing his plans on field this gentleman is an excellent motivator. Selvam believes in stamina and physical fitness. Off the field he works tremendously hard with the boys at gym sessions.

P.K.N. Dayan is the Trinity XV trainer who supervises players at gym and cardiac sessions. The former SAF games silver medalist is keen on implementing state of the art scientific methods to develop physique and strength. He is an ardent believer of explosive power in human body. Dayan is working tirelessly on conserving players from injuries and plays a key role in game management.

The ultimate goal of Trinity coaching staff is to bring back the lost glory. Neil Foote and his colleagues mentioned that they have high hopes of producing a remarkable champions’ side after a wearisome two decades. Apart from that the coaches have tremendous faith on winning the blue ribbon of school’s rugby – The Bradby Shield after a lapse of two years. Basically the strategy is to play exceptional rugby throughout the season to optimize at the ideal time.
Furthermore the Trinity College Principal Brig. W.G.K. Aryarathne places a personal interest in the development of rugby. He has passionately committed himself to provide all necessities to the Lions’ pride. Meanwhile master in charge Mr. Prabath Senanayake’s admirable untiring efforts are worthwhile to mention. He has acted efficiently as the link between players and school administration, looking into all matters of concern in a fatherly manner.

Old Trinitians Rugby Scrummage is the financial and tactical backbone of Trinity rugby. This august body comprises with corporate giants and tactful masterminds. Headed by Lionsman Byron Fernando who is based in Australia, the Scrummage is firing all cylinders to provide infrastructure facilities. Roshan Ratwatte, Rohan Abeykoon and Haris Omar are great readers of the game who had received the coveted Lion and have gone on to lead the national side.

Moreover, illustrious icons of the corporate sector Mr. Jayanthissa Kehelpannala, Kalana Hewamallika, Chris Halangoda and Channa Kalugampitiya have reinforced the base of this magnanimous organization. Former Sri Lanka representatives Rajeev Ganapathy and Duminda De Silva together with current national skipper Sean Wijesinghe are working alongside coaches to clarify issues regarding the technical aspect.

Secretary Asanka Ranhotty on the other hand is having a cordial relationship with overseas Old Boys’ Associations in Washington, Sydney, London, Auckland, Toronto and Dubai to lavishly invest in ultra modern sport equipment and expensive nutritional supplements.

The present context of school boy rugby is highly commercialized. In fact the league tournament is one of the most anticipated sporting spectacles in the island. Under these circumstances intercollegiate rugby can no longer be considered as a cost effective affair. It is a staggering multi million rupee investment. Despite of two back to back mediocre seasons, Trinity administration has taken a bold decision to increase the seasonal budget drastically. This year Trinity rugby teams are allocated with funds like never before in the recent past. Watawala Plantations PLC is the main sponsor of the 1st XV team while 1983 batch and UAE Old Boys’ Association are sponsoring the under-16 and under-13 teams respectively.
Trinity College is built on the values of family concept. The minor staff makes a valuable contribution towards the betterment of the Trinity Family. Surprisingly the labourers of the Trinity Rugby Stadium at Pallakale annually involves in auspicious Hindu rituals to offer blessings to the Trinity rugby teams. Among the notable well-wishers of Trinity Family “Perumal (Peru)” can be named as one of the most prominent characters. As much as “Percy” is for the Sri Lankan Cricket team “Perumal” can be mentioned as the cheerleader or perhaps the unofficial mascot of Trinity rugby for the past four decades.

In terms of infrastructure Trinity College Kandy is right at top notch. Since its inception this elite institution has earned the reputation as one of the wealthiest schools not only in Sri Lanka but in the whole region. Apparently it is the first and only school in the world to own an international Test venue. ESPN sports network broadcasted a scintillating documentary on Trinity’s outdoor sports facilities prior to the Cricket World Cup 2011. Pallakale Rugby Stadium also known as the Lions’ Den is the latest attraction of Trinity’s sporting monuments. It is the first rugby field in Sri Lanka with precise international standard measurements. Trinitians enjoy practicing skills at this picturesque facility. This provides the much needed isolation to the tacticians behind the game. The alumni after late 90’s are privileged to use this wonderful arena. After completion Pallakale will proudly host the prestigious Bradby Shield encounter.

Great expertise, staggering financial inputs and world class facilities are set in place for the Lions to dish out a dignified performance in 2011. Hardcore Trinitians behind the scenes expect the gentlemen to carry on untarnished the unique brand of rugby, reflecting the tradition of true sportsmanship.

Article Written By – Choliya Bandara (2010 Senior Prefect of Trinity College)

*Credit goes to thepapare.com, indubandaraphotography.com and Amandra Ratwatte for the images.

Click Here to see the Trinity Rugby Fixtures & Results of 2011.

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