St. Anthony’s has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in rugby | Daily News

St. Anthony’s has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in rugby

St.Anthony’s College, Katugastota has produced some top rugger players, from the day they took up the game of rugby. They took to rugby long after they played sports like cricket, boxing hockey, football and athletics. Only in the ‘1950’s they took an interest in the game of rugby with Bruce Winter as the first captain. The side was coached first by famous Trinity College product Bobby Jayaweera who did his best and later Maurice Perera helped in coaching.

From the day, they handled the oval shaped ball, the game became very popular.. In the early days, it remained just an introduction of the game for quite some time, with no signs of attracting the enthusiasm of youthful Antonians.. Though they started rugby in the 1950's it was only in 1961 that unprecedented enthusiasm was created and rugby received a big boost and backing from all quarters. Particularly at its inception,many of the leading schools provided the Antonian's with the second XV fixtures. It was only in 1962 that the Antonians were able to play against the first XV teams. In fact, that was the first time they played Trinity, Royal and S. Thomas's senior teams. The results of the matches played that year were – Lost to Royal 0-17, Lost to St. Thomas’ 0-9,Lost to St. Peter's 3-6, Lost to Trinity 3-14, Lost to Zahira 0-30, defeated Thurstan 11-8, defeated St. Joseph's 14-8. In their first year of Inter School Competition three Antonians Gavin Stevens, Andre Titus and Charlie Joseph were chosen to represent outstation schools against Colombo schools. In the same season, Andre Titus was picked for the combined schools team

Graduating to 1st xv rugby in 1962 the team was led by Win ChuWei, the rest of players were Kenny Duff-Tytler, brothers Upali and Ranjith Fernando, Winston Vanderpooten, Chris Duff-Tytler, Barney Daniel, brothers Charlie and Michael Joseph, Franklyn Paul, Spencer Dias, Tutu Thenuwara, Christy Gomez, lan Fernando, Freddie Baptist. Then in 1963 and 1964 Antonians did well in rugby under Ranjith Fernando and Saliya Kulatunge. Both were selected to play for the Outstation Schools’ Team against the Colombo Schools'. the 1965 and 1966 teams, led by Michael Macky and Patrick Gunaratne respectively, did not fare well, but maintained a high standard of rugby. The 1967 team captained by Basil Hyde, won only one game and lost the other eight. Four members of this 1967 team namely Basil Hyde, Malcolm Dias, H.M. Kuthdoos and Randy Sims, won their rugby colours for their outstanding performances during the season. In 1968 they showed real maturity when, for the first time, the team led by H.M. Kuthdoos held the much fancied Trinitians to a 3 all draw at Peradeniya in a block-buster game. During that season St Anthony's won 6 matches and the team enjoyed one of the finest years in rugby.

After quite a long wait, the Antonian rugby team enjoyed one of the finest years in rugby, in 1972 when for the first time the Antonians were able to beat Trinity College 13 – 7 in a nail-biting finish. That year the Antonain's were coached by the famous Havelock SC,Kandy Lake Club and Sri Lanka Centre three quarter Maurice de Silva’ Thanks should go to E.W.Balasuriya for bringing Maurice to Kandy. This side was led by Tuan Dole. They won seven games against, St.Joseph's, St. Benedict's, Kingswood, S. Thomas, Thurstan and Trinity, and drew with St. Peter's and lost to Royal. The next best rugby season was in 1988,under the captaincy of Leroy Fonseka when they, emerged runners-up to Royal in the schools rugby League Championship. Antonian’s remained unbeaten, winning nine out of ten matches and drawing the other. Leroy Fonseka had the rare distinction of representing the country as a schoolboy at the 11th Rugby Asiad in Hong Kong. In 2001, they won the “Milo” under19 League championship. Out of all the Antonian Ruggerites Priyantha Ekanayake stands tall and above all being the first Antonian to captain the Sri Lanka Rugby Team, and that too for a record ten consecutive years including four consecutive Asiads a record yet to be broken.

Some of the outstanding past players are Andre Titus and Charlie Joseph, M H A Kaffer, Win Chu Wai, Gavin Stevens, Christopher Koelmeyer, Denzil Halangoda, Upali Fernando, Linton Vanstarrax, Mike Joseph,Ken Duff-Tytler, Mohan Ratwatte, Niyas Majeed, N. Vander Pooten, W Wijeratne, S Mulholland, John Emmanuel, S. Dunuwille, Franklyn Paul, Ranjith Fernando, Walter Lodewyke, Christy Gomes, Tom Thenuwara, S. Kadirgamaraj, Ronnie Bolling, Chris Duff-Tytler, Wilmot Wijeratne, Barney Daniel, Travis Baptist,Michael Macky,Saliya Kulatunga, Franklyn Paul, Ernest Tissera,, , Elmo Joachim , , Patrick Gunaratne, Chan Fa Ching, Peter Corteling, Michael Drieberg, Chris Anderson, Geoffrey Paul, Steve de Silva, Basil Hyde, Malcolm Dias, H.M. Kuthdoos ,Randy Sims, Paul Offen, Ronnie Pandithasekara, S. Piyasena, Tuan Dole, Maxi Vancuylenberg, Geoff Paul, Rohan Thambinayagam, D. Dharmakeerthi, Hilmy Jainudeen, , Russell de Silva. Thusitha Dharmaratne, ,Ajith Fernando,Abaya Rajaguru, Ranjith Karunathilake,Tyrone Rosairo, Ian Lodewyke, D.H.Rajaguru, Shanmuganathan, Dayananda De Silva, M. Sevagan, Nimal Malagamuwa, CP P Raj, Clement Fernando, , C. Kaluarachchi W. Waidyaratne, P. Piyasena, Kalu Perera,Ashad Dole, M. Ali, Sarath Fernando, -Nihal Viper Gunaratne, Selvin Bulathsinghala, Haren Goonawardene, Rienzie Martinesz, Hubert Harley, Baratha Seneviratne, L. V. Ekanayake, M. Nazar, Channa De Costa, Priyantha Ekanayake, Maurice Joachim, M. Naliff, Sanjaya Amunugama,Senaka Kaluarachchi, Leroy Fonseka, Shanitha Fernando, Rohan Jayasundera, Lalantha Karunatilleke, Chaminda Marasinghe, Suranga Kodituwakku,Malith Silva, Sameera Silva, Amila Kulatunga, Iranga Dissanayake, Isuru Herath, Salman Kuthdoos, Ashan Cooray, Tikiri Dissanayake, Asela Rajaguru, Suranga Swarnatilake, Imran Bistamin, Mark Steven , Shaheer Reyal, Sanjaya Rajaguru, Imad Reyal, Kusal Rankothge, Chanaka Gunaratne, Amila Weligampola, Tharindu Chanaka, Panduka Angammana, Damien Wijasiri, Biumal Fernando, Jeewa Jayasiri, Suresh Kaasi, Channa Seneviratne, Jude Pillai, Pradeep Liyanage, Pradeep Fernando, Edward Wijesuriya,, Nuwan Chamara, Samuel Maduwantha, Shashika Jayawardene, Newman Dilan, Tharindu Chanaka. Danush Dayan, Dinuk Amerasinghe, Charles Praveen, Yakoob Ali, Iqubal Shabheer, Tuan Waseem, M. Makarim, M. Shabeer, Ishara Liyanage.