Lakala Perera excellent ruggerite and coach | Daily News

Lakala Perera excellent ruggerite and coach

Lakala Perera
Lakala Perera

It is rare to find a rugby player who is capable of playing in several positions unless he is a highly skilled person. Lakala Perera was one of them who handled the rugby ball in various positions, after engaging in several sporting disciplines as a schoolboy and later turned out to be a scintillating rugby player and an excellent coach.

Lakala was born in 1981 and Susil Perera is his father, a musician by profession who hails from a family involved in professional music. Ruby Grace is his mother who is a housewife. He has three siblings with elder brother Isuru another Peterite was a professional football player representing Saunders Sports Club later donned the National jersey. His elder sister is Erandathi who is a housewife while his younger brother is Maduka another Peterite following the footsteps of his father as a musician.

Lakala was admitted to St. Peter's College, Colombo as a primary class student in 1987 and went on to complete his higher studies by 2000. From his younger days he was involved in sports. He then joined the school basketball team followed by the cricket, soccer and rugby teams. He captained the basketball under-17 team in 1998 and dribbled the football to annex the ‘Best Player’s award at the big match in 1999 against their traditional rivals St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. Getting into rugby was encouraged by one of his classmates Warren Peters, who was also a sportsman, who represented college in cricket and rugby.

He started playing in the under-13 team in 1992 coached by B.K. Ramachandran. Continued playing in the under-15 team coached by Kelum Senaratne and Shantha Dharmaratne while the under-17 team was coached by Sunanda Fernando. He established a regular place in the College first XV Rugby team in the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Due to his fine performance he bagged the ‘Best players’ award in 1999. He further grabbed the College colours for basketball and rugby for his splendid performances. Gavin Ludowyke led the Peterites team in 1999 and lost to Ananda in the semi finals under the coaching of Cicero de Fonseka. The 2000 season was played under the captaincy of Gladwin Georgesz under the coaching of S.W.Chang where they went down to Kingswood in the semi finals of the schools knock-out tournament.

He played a dual role as fly half and at times as a scrum half most of his school career starting from junior rugby. However, in 2000, in his final year in school, his coach S. W. Chang advised him to swap position in the back line as a wing three quarter, if he intends to continue rugby up to a professional level, after noticing his ball handling skills. This bold move enabled him to represent Sri Lanka Rugby from 2001 to 2008 as a wing three quarter.

He then opted to play for Havelock Sports Club which was also motivated by S.W. Chang. He locked horns for them from 2001 to 2005. With his participation there, he played a pivotal role in winning the under- 24 sevens and XV-a-side rugby in 2001 followed by the senior club sevens in

2001/02 seasons, where he was adjudged ‘Best Player’ of the tournament in 2002. In 2003, the Park Club won the President’s Trophy Knockout Tournament under Shafi Hassan’s captaincy. Sanjeewa Jayasinghe was his first captain in 2001 and went on to play under Rajiv Sornaratne in 2002, under Miskin Deen in 2004, under Rajiv Ganapathy in 2005 respectively. Subsequently, he

was stricken by an injury to his hand in 2006 which sidelined him the whole season.

Soon after recovery in 2007, he decided to change clubs and scrum down with CH and FC. In 2007, he played under Dilanka Wijesekera, in 2008 under Jayantha Ranaweera, and in 2009 under Achala Perera, in 2010 under Dinesh Sanjeewa and finally in 2011, he was entrusted to lead the Gymkhana Club to end his illustrious club rugby career which spanned over a decade. Tony Amit was his coach at CH and FC.

He got the National call to represent the sevens team in 2001 onwards playing in the Singer Sri Lankan Tournament from 2001 to 2004. He also was a member of the Sri Lanka team at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2002,2003 and 2008 while playing in the Dubai International Sevens in 2001,2002 and 2003, where he was instrumental in scoring tries against Kenya, France and in

South Africa sevens in 2003. He also took part in Asian Games in 2002 and Commonwealth Games the same year. His XV-a-side representation with the National side was at the Asian Games in Korea in 2002 and the Rugby Asiad held in Sri Lanka in 2007, where he scored four tries in the tournament. He was awarded the National Sporting Honours for Rugby in 2008 by the National Sports Council. He also played in the Mercantile Sevens and later received the award for the Best player in the final in 2002.

His wife is Annaliza Jayasekara who is an architect by profession and the two children are son Javin schooling at St.Peter’s and daughter Leah. He has been working for Hatton National Bank since 2002 up to date. He is serving as an assistant coach for Havelock Sports Club from 2018 up to date.