Published: 20 February 2013
The defending Schools Rugby league champions Isipathana College are confidently at work to defend their prestigious title in the coming season. ThePapare caught up with the management and the players of the Havelock town school for an insight into their preparation for the 2013 season.
A stand out issue once more is the unavailability of a regular training ground for the lads to carry out their practices. Meeting the team at the college grounds seeing large stretches of gravel, a make-do pitch and paltry lines was a disheartening sight, but nevertheless the lads were at training with the vigor of champs sans any lack of enthusiasm and were perky as ever.
Speaking to the Coach of Isipathana Mr. Shamlie Nawaz, he drew attention to the practice conditions and the ground issues. The Coach illustrated they were faced with consistency issues in practice and strategic drawbacks such as running lines and tactical kicking issues. The management team, together with the rugby committee though has been working to ensure as much as possible that this drawback is mitigated to the greatest extent. The team has had its practices mostly at Air Force grounds and the school grounds due to the unavailability of Havelocks Sports Club as the upcoming Asian 5 Nations tournament and national team practices taking place in the respective venue.
The Coach was confident of his sides’ ability to defend their title, and he attributed this to the hard work as well as favorable logistics including 12 coloursmen and retention of a few key players from the previous season, including playmakers in the form of Skipper Uditha Premathilake, Hirantha Perera (both having represented the junior national team last year), Senal Deelaka and Sudam Parinda. The policy of familiarizing the younger players has also come good for the squad with most of the players having had match practice last season.
The Pathana strength as per the coach is in the balance of skill in their forwards and backs alike, and unlike in most cases there does not exist a sway towards a particular set of players.However a grinning coach added “we do like to run” giving a slight hint of things to come as last season did see a scintillating set of mobile forwards in addition to the flashy line for the Havelock town school which came much in handy on many an occasion.
The on-field reigns have been handed to Uditha Premathilake, the cheery wing three quarter who is never short of extending his hand to a fellow on the field, be it a colleague or the opposition. The Captainis confident of his side as he says the unity in the squad is at a peak and the team seems to be gelling well together. When asked of his role as Captain he states marshaling the troops together with the seniors under the direction of the coach is the main objective as he has confidence in the strategies designed by the management team and the players ability to come good on it.
Despite the drawback at the All- island 7’s the team is putting it behind them and is totally focused on the longer version of the game says Uditha and are raring to get on the field, sporting the familiar green jersey.
Bandula Mallikarachchi the Coach in-charge for the three quarters has his players working their hearts out as well. The Coach is happy with the line up having 5 players returning from the previous squad including play makers and Junior National caps Uditha Tharanatha and Hirantha Perera. Mallikarachchi also alluded to the issued faced with respect to the grounds which have impacts to the training techniques.
Mallikarachchi also went on to state the focus was looking within the team and building the individuals’ character and to bring out the best in the boys. A particular point of interest was the approach of instilling “rugby knowledge” in the lads in pursuit of the rugby character building where individual players have their homework/paperwork to do thus crafting sound rugby individuals.
A statement made by management staff and players alike was “the competition is all schools out there, which will be after us to take the title away from us”. Taking it a game at a time and addressing specific strengths, competencies and plays of the oppositionis the game plan for the Pathanians. Coupled with good old hard work and commitment by all involved is the formula for the green machine this season in their journey of defending their regal title of Champions!
Props: Ganuka Dissanayake, Chathura, Ashan Darling, Danushka Bandara and Tirath Bandara.
Hookers: Samith Dissanayake, Omalka Gunarathna and Kasun Ishan.
Locks: Heshan Maldeniya, Nilushan Jayanga, Nabeel Saldeen, Avinka Chathura and Akila Perera.
Flankers: Senal Deelaka, Ramesh Warnapura, Nuwan Bandara and Ridwaan Rumi.
Number 8: Hastha Udyoga.
Scrum Half: Sudam Parinda, Isuru, Ishan Nilanka and Dilan Gallage.
Fly Half: Kushan Indunil, Asela Jayawardena and Dilshan Widuranga.
Centers: Hirantha Perera (Vice-captain), Pabasara Madawa and Rangika Lakshan.
Wingers: Uditha Premathilake (Captain), Ishanga Panchama and Nishan Zoysa.
Full backs: Sandeep Himsha and Kushan Silva.
Coach: Shamlie Nawaz and Bandula Mallikarachchi
Support staff: Chaminda Gallaga, H. Karunanayake, Supun (physion) and the Rugby Committee
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