Sports News

School rugby returns! 

BY RANJIKA PERERA 

The Dialog Schools Rugby League 2022 kicked off yesterday at Havelock Grounds with the match between St. Anthony’s College, Kandy and St. Joseph’s College Colombo. One of the most popular sports leagues in the country is back after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic which started back in 2020. When Sri Lanka faced the Covid-19 outbreak back in March 2020, the League was already underway but the season was brought to a halt. 

Sevens Rugby made a comeback last December 

Since then, there was no school rugby due to the continuous lockdowns that brought the country to a standstill. However, Sri Lanka School Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) was able to successfully organise Provincial School’s 7’s Tournament last December. It was played behind closed doors in Western Province, Central Province, North Western Province, Sabaragamuwa Province and Southern Province. 

Apart from the Sevens tournament, Trinity College played three friendly matches against Sri Sumangala College, Dharmaraja College and St. Thomas College. Those three matches were only XV a-side action that took place in the school rugby arena for the last two years. 

New format due to lack of time 

The 2022 season will be played differently compared to previous leagues. The change of format was forced upon SLSRFA who had to cut down the number of matches due to the limited time and resources. The new format will have 36 teams in Division I which will be segregated into three segments of twelve. 

Teams inside each segment will again be divided into two groups of six according to their final standings at the end of the 2019 League competition. In segment “A”, each team will play each other in their respective groups. At the end of the first round, the top two seeds from each group will proceed to a super round and will play two more games against the top two seeds from the other group to determine the league winner. 

In segments “B” and “C”, Each team will play against the other five teams in their respective group. At the end of the first round, the highest ranked team from each group will be awarded as the Segment Group champions. 

Teams to look out for 

It is tough to determine a clear cut favourite due the lack of rugby action we witnessed in the last couple of years. However, many pundits have named St. Peter’s College as pre-season favourites. They have one of the most experienced outfits among the teams and are coached by one of the most successful school’s rugby coaches, Sanath Martis.

In 2019, the Peterites finished second in the points table. They had an early upset when they lost to St. Thomas’ College but went on to beat League Champions Royal College. Peterites will be led by Sudesh Jayawickrama, brother of former Peterite fly-half Sandesh Jayawickrama.

The defending champions, Royal College will be led by full-back Harshith Peiris while Kaveen Saranga will be the vice-captain of the side. Royal College won the title for three consecutive seasons before the Covid-19 outbreak. However, with some young players in their side, the pressure will be on the defending champions to deliver yet again. 

Wesley College outfit are also another team to watch out for this season. Most players in the side were a part of the U16 Champion side in 2018 and the U16 Runner-up team in 2019. 

Fixtures 

23 June 

St. Joseph’s College vs Kingswood College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

24 June

Royal College vs St. Anthony’s College, Royal Complex at 4.15 p.m.

Isipathana College vs Science College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

 

25 June

Trinity College vs S. Thomas’ College, Pallekelle at 4.15 p.m.

St. Peter’s College vs Dharmaraja College, SPC Grounds at 4.15 p.m.

Wesley College vs Vidyartha College, CR&FC at 4.15 p.m.

1 July 

Royal College vs Kingswood College, Royal Complex at 4.15 p.m.

St. Anthony’s College vs Trinity College, Nittawela at 4.15 p.m.

2 July

Dharmaraja College vs Science College, Nittawela at 4.15 p.m.

St. Joseph’s College vs S. Thomas’ College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

3 July

Vidyartha College vs St. Peter’s College, Nittawela at 4.15 p.m.

Wesley College vs Isipathana College – To be decided 

9 July 

Royal College vs Trinity College, Royal Complex at 4.15 p.m.

Science College vs St. Peter’s College – To be decided

Vidyartha College vs Isipathana College, Bogambara at 4.15 p.m.

St. Joseph’s College vs St. Anthony’s College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

Dharmaraja College vs Wesley College, Nittawela at 4.15 p.m.

10 July

Kingswood College vs S. Thomas’ College, Nittawela at 4.15 p.m.

16 July

Royal College vs S. Thomas’ College – To be decided 

Trinity College vs St. Joseph’s College, Pallekelle at 4.15 p.m.

Dharmaraja College vs Vidyartha College, Nittawela 4.15 p.m.

17 July

Isipathana College vs St. Peter’s College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

St. Anthony’s College vs Kingswood College, Nittawela 4.15 p.m.

Wesley College vs Science College – To be decided 

22 July 

St. Joseph’s College vs Royal College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

23 July 

Isipathana College vs Dharmaraja College, Havelock Park at 4.15 p.m.

Trinity College vs Kingswood College, Pallekelle 4.15 p.m.

Science College vs Vidyartha College – To be decided

St. Peter’s College vs Wesley College – To be decided 

26 July

  1. Thomas’ College vs St. Anthony’s College – To be decided