Vidyartha ruggerites create history | Daily News

Vidyartha ruggerites create history

Vidyartha Rugby Sevens team joint champions with D.S. Senanayake College
Vidyartha Rugby Sevens team joint champions with D.S. Senanayake College

Vidyartha College, Kandy concluded their Inter School rugby season on a grand scale by annexing the coveted Inter Schools Rugby Sevens Tournament as joint Champs with D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo.

One of the leading education institutions located in the hill capital of Kandy, which inaugurated handling the oval shaped ball in 1950’s, had done a yeoman's service in promoting the game of Rugby while being instrumental in producing several players to don the National jersey.

Vidyartha are sans a ground to continue their practices which subsequently enabled them to hire various other grounds, had done exceptionally well to sign off the school season with a belligerent team performance after showcasing a scintillating performance in the school’s rugby league 2022, concluded recently.

Ranjith Weerasinghe the head of the Vidyartha Rugby Development Group stresses a point at a press briefing. Picture by Wimal Karunatilaka

Their rugby history had to come through several turbulances being relegated to ‘B’ and ‘C’ divisions owing to various factors including the much-needed financial backing which was a key factor in their sustenance. When their rugby was in a spot of bother, while the Covid-19 pandemic was in tandem, they were in search of a person to shoulder this ill-fated game.

It was Ranjith Weerasinghe the incumbent head of the Vidyartha Rugby Development Group (VRDG) is one of their die-hearted and distinguished old boys who volunteered to lock horns with their rugby wing to rescue the game from doldrums. Vidyartha returned to ‘A’ division rugby in 2020 after a lapse of seven years and only played a couple of matches once again owing to the COVID-19 pandemic early this year.

Ranjith formulated a strong strategy to rejuvenate the game while ensuring that they remain a strong outfit and play competitive rugby remaining in the top along with the other schools in fray. The indefatigable Ranjith played a phenomenal role in finding financial assistance when the country was passing through financial constraints. Nevertheless, it was a herculean task, which he opted to take as a challenge to support the course infusing his own funds to sail the ship steadily without any further turbulence.

While sorting out the financial requirements, Vidyartha managed to acquire the services of veteran rugby educator former Kingswood and Kandy SC skipper Ananda Kasthuriarachchi as the rugby consultant. They added Nalin Wijesinghe as the head coach while Anush Kolonne as the backs coach and Roshan Hemantha as the physical trainer which was one of the best combinations which played a pivotal role in their success story.

In the league, Vidayrtha overcame St.Peters, Dharmaraja and Science College convincingly but lost to Isipathana in their last closely contested game (23 -25 showing tremendous improvement which probably turned out to be the best game in the entire season.

Surging ahead, in the sevens tournament, Vidyartha beat Lumbini 36-0, Nalanda 38-0 in the first round. In the cup quarters they beat Wesely 20-5 and in the semi finals notching up a sweet-revenge ousting of league champions Isipathana 12-10 in a cliff-hanger. But in the finals Vidayrtha took on D.S Senanayake College which won the ‘B’ division league Championship and ended up being the joint champs with a 10 -all score line.

President of the VRDG Ranjith Weerasinghe at a press briefing held in Colombo elaborated on their success story which he dedicated to his team which worked tirelessly while revolving around the team taking care of them in all aspects.

“We are jubilant of winning the sevens after a poor start in the league tourney. It was a collective effort of my charges and officials who worked hard with me to mould this side to a champion outfit. At the outset, it was a mere dream but the boys and the coaching staff were determined to give their best to their ‘Alma-Mater”. We gave the much-needed support for them to concentrate in competing the game without any hindrance which eventually proved a success.”

“With this success, our temperament is high and we will gear up to prepare for the next season with much more planning. We are optimistic that with this win the much-needed sponsorship might flow in and if not, I will take care of the financial support even if we don’t succeed in obtaining it.” Ranjith Weerasinghe further added.

Ranjith served in various capacities in the school’s committees including the Old Boys Association. He commended the contribution from Chandana Jayamanna treasurer of VRDG, Kapila Rajapaksha Secretary of VRDG and all the other members who were instrumental in this year’s success.

The President of VRDG also mentioned that they intend to expand the facilities of the school’s hostel to attract and look after talented players who join Vidayartha from the outskirts. VRDG is hopeful of conducting a sevens tournament with the participation of the schools in their Province to scout players to form a strong team from Central Province which will enable them to make a significant impact in next year’s season and continue to produce great Rugby players to the Sri Lanka team.

Tikiri Banda Wijesinghe Charles Wijewardena, George Jayasena, Viper Gunaratne Athula Manchanayake, Nimal Malagamuwa Sunil Munasinghe Sunil Perera P G Mahindaratne Radeesha Seneviratne Pradeep Wilson Sumedha Malawana, Dhanushka Pushpakumara, Saliya Kumara, Anuruddha Wilwara Dilan Ekanayake Chanaka Chandimal Charith Seneviratne, Jason Dissanayake and Kavindu Perera represented Sri Lanka in rugby with distinction bringing honour and fame to Vidyartha.

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