Joes take on Kingswood in opener on 23 June

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Despite the strains of everyday life, Schools Rugby is expected to kick-off on the 23rd with St. Joseph’s Colombo taking on Kingswood Kandy at Havelock Park.

Rugby has a good fan base in the school sporting calendar. It draws the interest of spectators despite the many digs faced. Spectators would come and enjoy the game and hopefully leave technical matters in the hands of those who are qualified and/or responsible for taking issues with the authorities. Then the enjoyment and the fun will look better. A factor that will affect school teams is the loss of senior players who left school, as the replacements who graduate from under-16 level have not had any rugby in the last two years. All matches schedule to be kick-off at 4.15pm

June fixtures:

23 St. Joseph’s vs Kingswood (Havelock Park) 

Joes are a team that has been a sort of mover and shaker in the recent past and promises flowing rugby. However, the unit appears to be structured better in approaching the breakdown. With a variety of experience and new faces, they will have the advantage of playing in Colombo. They play to a pattern and expect a lot as they meet a young inexperienced Kingswood side. Kingswood has always been a team willing to play positive rugby, and there is no exception to their style of play this year.

24 Royal vs St Anthony’s Kandy (Royal Sports Complex) Hopefully, the talented SACK will show better discipline in the approach to the game than in their practice games. Royal has always been good at home and possess a blend of experience and youth.

24 Isipathana vs Science (Havelock Park)

This will be an exciting game as on paper both teams – it is speculated – are evenly matched. However, according to sources, Isipathana comprise several U-16 players who have graduated to the senior team, which could pose a problem as there has been no U-16 games for almost two years. Moreover, the game’s structure and physical attributes are different in the 16 and 19 age groups, which will be a problem the Park School will have to face. If the game with the old boys is a gauge of their performance, running alone as in the lower games will be a sore point.

25 Trinity vs S. Thomas’ Mt. Lavinia (Pallekele)

This game, for the Canon de Saram Trophy for 2022, is sure to draw the most interest among spectators. The gap forced by COVID compelled playing the 2021 game on 26 March this year. Though they will miss many of the players that played in March, Trinity will be throwing all they have to avenge their defeat in the 2021 trophy game. An experienced, physically strong team will take on the might of a talented Thomian side. The Thomians will be no pushover even though playing on the Trinity home grounds.

25 St. Peter’s vs Dharmaraja (Bambalapitiya)

A much inexperienced St. Peter’s plays Dharmaraja at the Peter’s Ground. However, Dharmaraja has a team that can match the Peter’s tune. The Peterites are coached by veteran Martis who knows to use the strength of his material. The match promises to be another exciting game, and Peter’s on home soil has an advantage.

25 Wesley vs Vidyartha (CR and FC)

A young Vidyartha team playing fast open rugby will be a challenge to Wesley. The advantage, however, is with Wesley based on how they have played practice games.

Division ‘A’ Segment ‘B’ games

24 DS Senanayake vs St. Benedict’s (CR and FC)    

25 Ananda vs Thurstan (Ratmalana Air Force Grounds)         

25 Maliyadeva vs St Aloysius (Kurunegala)   

25 Zahira vs Mahanama (Maradana)               

26 Lumbini vs Prince of Wales (Ratmalana Air Force Grounds)

26 Sri Sumangala vs St. Sylvesters (Pallekelle)                                     

A note to ponder is that three games (on 23, 24 and 25) are to be held at Havelock Park and whether the recent rain will result in a soggy ground, which will hamper the flow.

Twelve matches in ‘A; and ‘B’ segments are on this weekend, which will add pressure to the appointment of referees. As a result, fewer experienced referees will be Assistant Referees for Division 1 Segment ‘A’ matches or lesser referees to be in charge of Division 1 Segment ‘B’ matches.

By Vimal Perera