Trinity Captain Shows Winning is not Everything

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A feature in the second week of Schools Rugby sportsmanship and spirit shown by both Trinity and St. Anthonys College in Kandy. It was a gesture much appreciated by the spectators when the Trinity Captain helped an opponent who suffered from cramp to stretch and relax. Well done Lithmal Moragoda.

Is this the system change generation Z (Zoomers) is talking about? The message should probably be spread by all involved in Schools Rugby as we have seen over twenty-five cards (yellow and red) in two weeks. A fair share is for dangerous play and high tackles.

School Rugby draws passionate crowds as in the past. At all matches attendance was encouraging. Despite all odds forced by transport problems, fans are strolling in. They come in all ages, sizes, and shapes, decked in the colours of the various schools. The loud cheering is sure to become more passionate as the games’ progress.

At the end of the second week, Royal led Segment A with St Joseph’s and Trinity 2nd and 3rd. The three teams are separated by bonus and points scored. The tussle for supremacy among these schools will be interesting. 

Isipthanna, with two wins, took the lead in Segment B, while St, Peter’s and Wesley are in 2nd and 3rd place. The intensity is there among equals, but not superior to Segment A.

As the pictures speak, the passion and belonging in school rugby is more than in a club game.

In the Wesley Vs Isipathana match, the use of the red card replacement trial was in place. The red card replacement was not practised even at the recently played test matches but implemented in Super Rugby as a trial. Though not yet approved by World Rugby as a global trial, this may be helpful as the ample yellow card pattern will turn red, and the game competition will diminish. However, many pundits argue a red card is often too harsh a punishment and ruins a game as a spectacle. Still, others believe the 20-minute red is an insufficient sanction for serious foul play. So, do all red cards require a reprieve?

 1   St. Joseph’s 30 (4T 2C, 2P) Vs S. Thomas 28 (3T 2C 3P)

The attempted conversion of the try scored by the Thomians in injury time from a difficult angle was a moment when hearts beat faster for players and fans of both sides. A conversion and a 30 all draw. The Josephians took the Shield to Maradana, winning 30-28. A hard-fought win and worth every cent the spectator spent.

According to Rugby historian Neil Wijeratne, “The 1965 inaugural year trophy match was a game to remember in the history of the series as Tuan Kitchil stole the game with drop goals. However, in 2022 Naveen Marasinghe was outstanding as both teams kept the excited crowd on their toes – and it stands as the best in the series.” Kitchil was a fleet-footed flashy No.10, while Marasinghe is a rampaging No.8.

S Thomas’ was a trite unlucky; drawn into Segment A and meeting two of the better teams in the first two matches. However, SJC, who must meet Trinity and Royal, must be mindful of the cards and penalties they concede and lose ground.

Playing a Thomian side that had a strong defence that came up fast has to be reviewed, as changing the style (such as lining a bit deeper) to suit the day might be helpful in the games to come. Fifty-eight points which included six tries is how they maintained continuity.

Joes led 17-10 at halftime. Scores were level at 17 all soon after resumption. Scores reached 23-20 as the Maradana boys scored two penalties while the school by the sea added one. Naveen Marasinghe scored his third try (converted) and STC a penalty, and Joes led 30-23. In injury time Fullback Jaden Koch scored by the corner flag for STC after a yellow card to the blue and whites, which was unconverted.

2 Wesley (0) Vs Isipathana (10 – 1T 1C 1P)  

 Branded as a close and enjoyable game and hard-fought-for the wrong reasons, Isipathna pulled off 10 points (1T 1C 1P) to 0 win over Wesley.

Wesley played most of the time with a man less, and sometimes with two men less. Playing with less on the field was approximately 40 minutes of the 70-minute game.

Isipathana had possession and space for 25 minutes of the first half, but failed to score. They were unable to keep the ball for more than two phases and unable to maintain continuity and cross to score. As a result, they were prone to run alone, get isolated, and lose control. Nevertheless, they played better on this day than in the previous week.

The Greens had to wait 45 minutes and put over a penalty in a struggle forced by their mistakes. They were ironically making use of an error by Wesley. They scored again in injury-time planting a try, converted on the stroke of full time, and took the game 10-0.

Though playing a more controlled game, Wesley could not get the necessary points as Pathana threw bodies all over and thwarted Wesley’s ability to score. Wesley had control when they were in possession, but threw away valuable ball by kicking while in good scoring territory. On the other hand, Wesley looked to have come with a preconceived notion matching the last match play of Pathana and thought this was an easy game. Therefore, it is not how Pathana played last week but how well they play today. A yellow card in the first ten minutes of the game for dangerous play and a subsequent yellow for a deliberate knock-on resulted in two yellow cards leading to a red.

The Green’s No.8 broke menacingly, running sideways before advancing. The inroad was possible as the Wesley third row was slow to break out, and the flankers stayed bound even after the No.8 break.

3  Royal (53 – 8T 5C 1P) Vs Kingswood (0)   

 Defending Schools League Champions Royal routed fresher laden Kingswood side 53-0. Kingswood did not seem to have confidence and the ability to hold the Royalists. If not for Royal relaxing, the pressure, throwing crooked in the lineouts, and making handling mistakes, the score would have been much more.

4  Trinity (25 – 3T, 2C, 2P) Vs SACK (18 – 2T, 1C, 2P)

Trinity fought their hometown rival St Anthonys College Kandy, and had a win registered in their name because of the last-minute conversion try.

The Antonians marked the first points on board through a penalty. However, Trinity took their time and took the lead with a conversion – TCK 7 SACK 3

A weak defence by Trinty helped SACK score, but the conversion was unsuccessful – SACK 8 TCK 7. Another penalty goal was kicked right by SACK and at halftime it was SACK 11 (1T, 2P) – Trinity 10 (1T, 1C, 1P).

Trinity, with more possession and playing cohesive Rugby, dominated the start of the second half. Forced to defend, the Antonians faltered under pressure and let Trinity score (18-11), who sat comfortably with around ten minutes left. The Eagles woke and flapped their wings to fly into Trinity territory and plant a try. The conversion levelled scores at 18 all.

SACK miscalculated their pattern of play, conceding a yellow card and down to fourteen. Trinity found the gap they needed after working the ball to the wing, scoring to the jubilation of the TCK rugby fraternity. The conversion took the score in favour of Trinity.

5 Dharmaraja (15 – 2T, 1C, 1P) Vs Science (15 – 2T, 1C, 1P)

The match between Dharmaraja Kandy and Science Mt. Lavinia ended in a 15-15 draw in Nittawela on Saturday (2nd). Both teams lost in the first week.

Science scored first and converted to take the lead 7-0. Rajans replied with a try 7-5. Both teams fought hard to the end. At the halftime break, Rajans took the lead with a converted try 12-07. A try by Science levelled the score at 12-12. In the second half, both sides score a penalty each. 

6 St. Peter’s (7 – 1T,1C) Vs Vidyartha (11 -1T, 2P)

St. Peter’s did not control the wet ball and ground condition. As a result, they could not collect the high ball at most times or spilt it at critical times. Vidyartha had greater control of the ball, adapted to the conditions, and delivered a stunning blow to the Peterites hopes of being unbeaten. On top of the rationally disabled type of game, Peter’s inflicted injury to themselves by conceding two yellow cards.

The B segment shook as Peter’s suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Vidyartha. In the second half, Vidyartha collected 6 points through two penalties, whilst St Peters scored in the dying stages of the game and the conversion was on target,

There were four yellow cards – 2 Vidyartha, 2 St. Peter’s

 ‘A’ segment Matches this week  

8 July – Royal Vs Trinity(Reid Avenue 4.15 p.m.)

9 July – Science Vs St Peter’s  (TBA 4.15 p.m.)

9 July – Vidyartha Vs Isipathana (Bogambara 4.15 p.m.)

9 July – St Joseph’s Vs SACK    (Havelock Park 4.15 p.m.)

9 July – Dharmaraja Vs Wesley (Nittawela 4.15 p.m.)

10 July – Kingswood Vs S. Thomas’    (Nittawela 4.15 p.m.)

By: Vimal Perera