Sumedha Malawana to coach Antonians once again | Daily News

Sumedha Malawana to coach Antonians once again

St. Anthony’s College has started rugby training at Katugastota. There are over thirty players at training and some of the senior players who are to sit for the examination are out of training they will be back, after the examination. The players are hard at fitness training and soon will start doing physical contact training but following protocols such as washing hands before and after training and wiping equipment afterwards.

The Antonians are coached by Sumedha Malawana former Vidyartha College, Navy SC and Sri Lanka player, has been given the duties of grooming St. Anthony’s College rugby team for another year. A product of Vidyartha College, who is an experienced coach and a knowledgeable man in the rugby field.

He learnt his rugger at Vidyartha College, he first played in 1986 and in 1998 was his best school year. Later went on to represent the Havelock SC from there he joined in 2000 and played nearly fifteen years. He also coached Navy as an assistant coach, his old school Vidyartha College and helped them to win against, Ananda College and D. S. Senanayake. He is coaching Antonians from 2019 to date and sure to give his best to come out with a talented side. The assistant coaches are Piyumal Manchanayke forwards and Prasad Chathurange backs and Aklanda Welage is the trainer and the MIC is Wasantha Gunasekara. The Old Antonian Rugby Club headed by Isuru Hearth with the rest give the maximum support.

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 Antonians with the 2nd XV fixtures. It was only in 1962 that the Antonains were able to play against the 1st XV teams. They have produced some top rugger players, from the day they took up the game of rugby. They took to rugby long after they played other sports. When they started the game it was 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.

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

It was in 1968 that Antonian Rugby showed maturity, when, for the first time, the team led by H.M. Kuthdoos held the much fancied Trinitians to a 3 all draw. In that season St Anthony’s won six matches beating much fancied teams like St. Joseph’s, Royal, St. Peter’s, St. Benedict’s and S. Thomas’, and lost one and drew one. After quite a long wait, the Antonian rugby team enjoyed one of the finest years in rugby that was in 1972 when for the first time beat Trinity College in a nail-biting game, the teams were coached by the famous ruggerite Maurice de Silva. This side was led by Tuan Dole. They won seven games drew one and lost one.

Out of all the Antonian Ruggerites Priyantha Ekanayake stands tall and above all is very proud of being the first Antonian to captain the Sri Lanka Rugby Team, and that too for a record ten consecutive years. He also had the privilege of leading the National team for four consecutive Asiad’s, a record yet to be broken.

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