Kandy schools rugby need SLRFU support | Sunday Observer

Kandy schools rugby need SLRFU support

Sri Lanka Rugby has a knowledgeable Chief Executive Officer, a complete ruggerite with brains and brawn and of course smart looks to go with it and an unassuming personality, who can win the hearts of all his admirers. He is none other than Priyantha Ekanayake born on July 3, 1965. He is a charismatic person who can communicate, lead and always be willing to make comprehensive changes.

He has a good understanding of rugby at all levels in Sri Lanka, and is able to lead as it’s all about people. A leader will accomplish far more than a manager. Another key area is the team behind the CEO! They need to work together and ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’. He is a man who can hold his own at Sri Lanka and IRB level. There are few people that understand the cut and thrust of rugby administration at the highest level as normal rules do not apply as well as the voracious demands that rugby makes for a CEO to be effective, he has to be a rugby man through and through, multi skilled and multi-talented in marketing and media, otherwise it overwhelms the man in the chair.

The Sri Lanka Rugby is headed up by former S. Thomas’ College ruggerite Asanga Senaviratne a well-known figure in the rugby field, who later played for CR & FC and Sri Lanka. He will have the support from President, Lasitha Guanratne played for Royal College, CR & FC and Sri Lanka, Secretary Nazeem Mohamed Science College former Sri Lanka Sevens player, Treasurer Ray

Abeywardena St.Thomas’ College Ex. Director Rohan Guanaratne played For St. .Benedict’s College, Air Force, CH & FC, Police and Sri Lanka.

Priyantha Ekanayake was the first Lankan to lead an Invitation Asian Barbarians team. This Asian Babarians team comprised players from Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The others selected for this team were Harin Perera CR & FC and Asoka Jayasena Kandy SC but Asoka had to skipp the tour due to Kandy Sports Club’s cup finals.

Later he was replaced by Thushra Jayalath of Havelock SC. In the first game they met beat the star studded Hong Kong under 24 side 46-35.The main game against Hong Kong Dragons, Barbarians won by 26 points to nil. This was the first time three Sri Lanka ruggeirtes played for an Asian team.

Earlier two of Sri Lankan players Lanil Tenekoon, Kandy SC and Michael Jayasekara Havelocks SC were invited to play for an Invitation XV soon after an Asiad tournament. He was one of the best and knowledgeable forwards produced by a Kandy school, St. Anthony’s College, played for Kandy SC. He was spotted by the irrepressible Kishin Butani and invited him to play for CH &FC, after few seasons he made a break to the adjoining club CR & FC, for which he played for several years. Once again he came back to Kandy and joined SC, for which club he did a great job and helped Kandy win the first trophy in 1992.

Priyantha also had a stint in New Zealand where he played for Ravense Bourne Sports Club

in the Premier League. He also played for Ebbebale Province in Wales. Priyantha gave his best for rugby and ended up as the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union in 2005/6, where he had Dilroy Fernando as his secretary and did a good job. He was once elected as the President Asian RFU.

He also coached the Kandy SC side when Haris Omar led the team, and helped the club win the inter club sevens for the first time. Over six feet tall, Priyantha played rugger, cricket, and basketball and also was a athlete for his school St. Anthony’s College. At school his pet sport

was basketball, and represented the country at the 7th Asian Basketball Championship in Seoul, Korea where he also obtained a Korean Diploma in Basketball Coaching. Later he represented the country at several tournaments. At cricket he was a fine all-rounder, but rugby robbed him from cricket.

This team should also give a hand to schools rugby, as most of the Kandy schools are minus proper playing fields. In my view, rugby needs a healthy future specially in schools.

If you want your kids to be happy, and create a good society can be achieved through rugby. This sport which offers teenagers improve confidence and self-respect, as it is a character-building sport. It

fosters courage, fitness, team effort and togetherness, bringing together boys and girls from all backgrounds. 

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