Rajans’ rugby boasts for a proud history | Daily News

Rajans’ rugby boasts for a proud history

Dharmaraja College doing well in rugby and has produced top teams and players. This school was founded on 30th of June 1887, under the name ‘Kandy Buddhist High School’ by Col. Henry Steele Olcott, an American theosophist.

It was in 1970 that Rajans first formed a rugger team. They had played the game in 1920’s and later gave up. In the start friendly games were played under the captaincy of Gamini Jayasundara and the team was coached by his brother Ananda Jayasundara who learnt his rugby at the University. In 1971 they played five friendly matches under the captaincy of Rohan Eakanayaka, in 1972 under Gamini Thomas and 1973- Upali Mayadunne In 1974 they presented the official team and this team was captained by Upul Thalagoda and coached by Lanil Thennakoon, since then they have been in a good footing in rugby.

They have produced galaxy of rugger players. It was Col. S. Fernando who first played for the Army, Defence Services and Sri Lanka and also did a good job in refereeing, followed by Shanthi U Mendis (University of Peradeniya, Ari Force and Sri Lanka), Daya Jayasundara (Kandy SC, Police and Sri Lanka) and was a top class referee and coach, Murga Jayarthne (Police), these four ruggerites never played for the school, there was no rugger during their school days.

After rugby was introduced players like Gamini Thomas, Tilak Jayasundara, Hemantha Yatawara, Ajantha Samarakoon, Cuda Nugawella, Melroy Mendis, C.S. Ekanayake, A. Dayasiri, G. Jayaweera, A. Fernando, D.M N.R. Dharmasiri, Supun Thalagoda, Ruwan Mallawarchchi, Chandima Amadoru, Anura Kulathunga, A. Kalinga, Chinthaka Wijasuriya, Pradeep and Prasad Alwis, M. Jayasekara, Indragith Bandaranayake, Manjula Ratnyake, S.S. Kalupe, U.P. Gunarthne, S. Hapugoda, J.B. Samarasinghe, S.Jayasinghe, Manjula Mallawarchchi, Indika Zoysa, Udaya Yatawara, Saman Yatawara,. Upul Thalagoda, Shehan Wijawardene, Radikka Hettirachchi, Sumedha Jayasinghe, Ravindra Wekadapola, Saranath Hettiarchchi, Nuwan Hettiarchchi, Sajith Sekkahandi, Gyan Hettiarchchi, Dhamika Waduge, Manjula Kotawage, Shashika Dharmarthne, Manjula Dissanayake, Shashika Udayakumara, Sampath Kumara, Shanka Waduge, Buwaneka Udangamuwa, Thilina Wijesinghe and many more ruggerites excelled for Dharmaraja College.

The recent past saw development in the Rajans’ Rugby. They won the All-Island Singer 10’s tournament in 2010 under the captaincy of Miyuru Hewawasam, in 2012 they won the B division again, the All-Island 7’s tournament and were one of the semi-finalists in the President’s trophy that year. The golden era of the Dharmaraja College rugby happened to be the season of 2013 where the Rochana Hettiarachchi led team to win the All-Island League tournament for the first time in their short history. The team was made out of players like Pasan Bandara, Dulaksha Weerakoon, Charinda Kalinga, Gihan Jayasingha, Dulantha Hiyarapitiya, Vihanga Nawalage, Hasmitha Karunatilleke, Amila Weerakoon, Thilina Sampath, Janaka Wijesinghe. No.8: Lochana Fernando. Backs - Ishanka Wimalasuriya, Hashan Pilapitiya. Rochana Hettiarachchi (Capt). Bhuvaneka Udangamuwa, Dilantha Madushanka, Lahiru Hettiarachchige, Pradeep Tharindu, Manushaka Kumara, Viraj Weerasekera and Thilina Wijesinghe. The ream was coached by Radika Hettiarachchi. They ended the season with seven wins and two draws,

Earlier in 1981 they won the under 13 Mini Rugby Championship, In 2010 they won the All Islands under 18 - 12-a-side tournament beating St Peter’s in the finals and the big guns Royal and Trinity in the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively. Way back in 1978 they were in the first eight in the grouping, and were invited for the SLRFU centenary schools knockout tournament. The history of Dharmaraja rugger is short since the game was commenced in an organized footing in 1974, although the game had been in existence in the 1920’s. The game was abandoned after a player had succumbed to an injury during a match.

A revival occurred in 1972, with a series of teething problems but it was possible to overcome them with a certain amount of organizational and planning effort being added on every year. In the early years the biggest problem for the Rajans was lack of a proper grounds for training, but now the Lake View grounds is in good condition.

In1976 they were able to hold their own against many an established sides. The credit should go to former Thomian, Lal Kumarasinghe, a man who did a lot for Dharmaraja rugby as a coach and Master in Charge. Lal was the keenest to bring up rugger at the Lake View School that was in mid 1970’s.

Such standards were reached by dedicated services rendered by so many, whom we recall with pride, such as Jadi Dissanayake (coached in 1978-79), Lanil Tenakoon (1981 to 83), Sarath Kulatileke (1981), IrwinHowie (1982;/83), Deepal Zoysa 1984), Z.M.Zarook 1985/85), NIhal Viper Gunaratne, Alex Lazarus, Ananda Kasthuriachchi, C.S. Ekanayake, Anil Jayasinghe, Asoka Jayasena, Nilufer Ibrahim, Hisham Abdeen, kapila Silva, Nimal Lal Wijasiri and Radika Hettiarachchi.

The Rajans’ rugby, past and present should be thankful to “ORRFA” Old Rajans Rugby Football Association, which gives the game a big hand. Their Old Boys Association branches overseas and the Old Boys parent body too giving a big support.