Rugger

Isipathana College which is only 50 years old has an impressive record of notable achievements in rugby since the game was introduced to the school by Maurice de Abrew, Vice President of Havelocks Sports Club.


From 1960 to 1963 Isipathana played friendly games against under-17 teams of all rugby playing schools and during this period there were a host of personalities like Eric de Silva, Michael Loos, Franklin Jacob and Edward Bartholomuez who rallied round to uplift rugger at Isipathana.


In 1963/64 former President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) Y. C. Chang took over coaching Isipathana who played their historic first match against St. Anthony's College Katugastota in Kandy and beat them 8-3 under the captaincy of Brian Ingram. Isipathana's first try was scored by Dayalu Perera.


In 1965 Isipathana was affiliated to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union's schools section and from that day onwards Isipathana has been in the forefront of school rugby in Sri Lanka. In 1965 under the first official captain Ana Saranapala and coach Maurice Silva, Isipathana fared well during the inter school season. In 1967 the Isipathana versus Thurstan match for the Abdul Jabbar Trophy was inaugurated and Isipathana has the distinction of winning the trophy consecutively for 24 years.


From 1968 to 1971 Isipathana rugby rose to great heights being unbeaten for four years under the guidance of the All Ceylon hooker Frankie David.In 1976 under the captaincy of Ginigalgodage, Isipathana beat Zahira 116-0, the highest score in an inter school first XV match. In 1977 another milestone was reached by H. K. Sisira who scored 25 tries in a single season which made him the first schoolboy to achieve the feat. In 1979 Isipathana recorded the highest score in school rugby by beating Nalanda College125-0 in an U-17 match.


In 1979/80 Isipathana was selected to represent Sri Lanka for the Asian Schools Rugby Football tournament held in Bangkok. Isipathana went as under-dogs for the tournament, but were named as the 'most outstanding' team after a scintillating performance with defending champions Vajiravudh College.


In 1980 Isipathana created history at rugby in Sri Lanka by producing the first schoolboy to represent Sri Lanka in the mould of Hisham Abdeen who represented the national side at the Asian championships. In 1980 Isipathana became the Sevens champions for the first time. Isipathana went on to win the Sevens trophy for four years in a row (1980/81/82/83) before losing it to Royal in 1984. But Isipathana won the trophy back again in 1985/86/87/88.


In 1981 the Isipathana-Trinity fixture was restored after a lapse of 12 years.


Rugby at Isipathana reached its peak in the eighties under that great mentor O. W. R. Perera who took over the task of coaching the side from 1979. Again in 1982 Isipathana produced another unbeaten team and was selected for the Asian Schools tournament in Bangkok to be adjudged the "Most Exciting Team" in the tournament for a bustling brand of rugby. It was also voted the Most Popular Schools rugger team in Sri Lanka and was awarded the Milo Trophy.


In 1985/86 Isipathana became the triple champions by winning the schools Sevens tournament and the inaugural knock-out tournament for the Premadasa Trophy. The team was tagged the kings of schools rugby in the annual league season which made them the first school team to become triple champs. The team retained the same unblemished record in the following year.


In 1987 Isipathana created a landmark in Sri Lanka's rugby history when 10 Isipatanians including two schoolboys were selected for the national squad that toured Wales. In 1987/88 and 89 Isipathana became runners-up in the Premadasa knock-out tournament. In 1989 Isipathana were coached by M. P. F. Sallay and Sanath Martis and the team won the inaugural Gymkhana U-20 Invitation Tournament. The team reached the final by beating the much fancied Havelocks Sports Club in the semi-finals. In 1989/90 Isipathana won the schools seven-a-side tournament.


In 1991 our team was suspended by the SLRFU for fielding an overaged player. In 1992 the school became champs in the under 13,15 and 17 tournaments respectively. The same year the under-19 team captained by Champika Nishantha became triple champs. The following year in 1993 under the captaincy of Chamila Samantha the under 19 team took the runners up berth in the Premadasa Trophy. In 1995 under the captaincy of R. Wahied the school emerged runners up at the President's Trophy and the following year (1996) the school had the opportunity under the captaincy of Bandula Mallikaarachchi to be crowned the League, Knock-out and President's trophy champions.


The 1997 the under-19 team captained by Vajira Hewage became the Sevens champs, the league trophy champs and also took the U-19 President's Trophy the same year. Shamly Nawaz captained the 1998 team in Singapore for the Tiger Cup where they competed against 12 countries to win the cup beating a team from New Zealand in the final. In 1999 the team captained by Crishan Chandran become champs in the Tens, League, President's Trophy and the Kandy Sports Club schools Sevens tournaments.


In the year 2000 Hamesh Gunaratne captained the team to celebrate a winning spree as the team became the Western Province 10-a-side champs and in the same year the team captained by Ranga Perera won the Sevens Trophy. In conclusion the year 2001 saw the team captained by Ranga Perera taking the President's Trophy and emerging runners up in the League. The same year the U-17 team won the 10-a- side and the U-17 trophies.


It is with deep sorrow that I wish to record the demise of four of the College's illustrious ruggerites. They are former Isipathana and Havelocks skipper M. P. F. Sallay who captained Isipathana in 1978 and played for the school for five years before wearing the Sri Lanka jersey with distinction. He played for Havelocks from 1979 to 1984 and coached the Isipathana team.


The late Nilantha Lakshmeewewa was one of the best centres to represent the national team after making his debut at the age of 19 when he was selected for a tour of Wales in 1987. The Isipathana College team was captained by him in 1987.


Suranga Warnasuriya a young ruggerite while practicing collapsed and was found dead. Nalin Katuwapitiya a former winger of the 1988 team passed away under tragic circumstances last year.

 
Activities
Activities
Activities