The Singer Under 20 inter-schools rugby tournament which is in progress now has completed two rounds of matches in both the Division 1A and 1B categories.
Though it’s too early to predict the champion team but definitely the teams to take note of this season is no doubt going to be defending champions Royal, Trinity and St. Peter’s who all are going great guns and looks the teams to beat.
|A Peterite forward breaking off a set piece on Friday. (Pic Ranjith Perera)
Royal, defending their crown began their campaign with a resounding win over new entrants to the top division D.S. Senanayake College with comfortable 45-5 margin underwent some anxious moments in their next game against the other new entrants to the top division Vidyartha who gave them a fright.
Royal after taking a convincing lead in the first half had to face a late rally put in by Vidyartha before coming out winners. Though Vidyartha lost the game they can be satisfied with their performance in the two matches that they have played so far. For sure Vidyartha from the other three teams mentioned is going to be a dangerous to confront as the season goes by and they are capable of turning the tables on more fancied teams.
Trinity on the other hand began their campaign just the opposite the way the Royalists did as they were made to fight hard for their win against Science a team to whom they lost last season.
But Trinity got their act together when they crushed home town rivals St. Anthony’s with ease as they outclassed the Eagles by a whopping 54-10 to record their second win in as many matches.
St. Peter’s who had their opening game abandoned against traditional rivals St. Joseph’s due to bad weather and lightning showed that they were a side to be reckoned with this season.
The Peterites ran circles around former three time schools champions Kingswood whom they drubbed by a massive 69-5 and sent the alarm signal to the other contenders for the league title that they are not going to be easy nuts to crack. The abandoned match against St. Joseph's was re-scheduled and it was played on Friday (May 4) and what a match it turned out to be.
The Josephians put in some stiff resistance and surprised their opponents as they took a 14-7 lead at the breather but faltered in the second half and they were restricted to a score of ten points in this session. They failed to take the advantage after the Peterites were reduced to 13 players with a player being sin binned and the opponents skipper having to leave the field due to a cramp.
The Peterite skipper never came back to the field but the other players rallied excellently and went on the rampage in the last ten minutes of the game to come out easy winners by 36 points to 24.
Isipathana will have to do more if they are going to make any impression in the tournament as they played below their best in the two matches against Vidyartha and St. Joseph’s.
Against Vidyartha they had to face a barrage of attacks and was fortunate to end with a 19 each draw while in the match against the Josephians though the final score line read 29-18 in their favour they too were made toil for their win.
Kingswood kings of school rugby in the not so far past is going to have a tough time as their massive defeat against St. Peter’s is going to be a big setback.
Their first game win against home town rivals St. Anthony’s whom they beat 30-15 was a promising start but the defeat to the Peterites would have shocked their supporters. They would have not expected such a heavy defeat.
Science College Mt. Lavinia who was the giant killers of last season has so far played below their expectations. They put in a sterling performance against Trinity but were made to work hard in their next game against DSS as they scraped through to 8-5 win.
Of course underfoot conditions at the Diyagama Stadium in this game made it difficult but the state of the ground was same for the two teams and the performance of DSS more than anyone expected as they played their hearts out against a better team.
New entrants Vidyartha and DSS though having played their two matches can be satisfied with their performances and it's left to be seen how they will brush aside the challenges from other top notch teams that they have to meet later on while Kingswood and St. Anthony's two of the top teams from the hill capital too will have to have a lot of work to do if they are to make any impression.
So as mentioned with the three teams mentioned defending champions Royal along with Trinity and St. Peter's who have two wins from two the tussle for the league title is going to be very interesting and closely contested.
Meanwhile the battle for the title in the Division 1B category is going to be another interesting affair as it seems to be restricted between the four demoted teams Dharmaraja, Wesley, S. Thomas' and Thurstan. The four teams have won the two matches that they have played with Dharmaraja and Wesley chalking up impressive wins.
Dharmaraja recorded convincing wins over Carey and Nalanda while Wesley too chalked up comfortable wins over Nalanda and St. Sylvester's. S. Thomas' though overcoming St. Sylvester's with ease had a tough game against Mahanama in the second game but Thurstan though having two wins have yet to confront the stronger teams.
The officials of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association should make arrangements for a smooth tournament to be conducted as time goes by and also the supporters of the respective schools too should behave in a way that will not bring disrepute to their alma mater as this was visible in the match against Isipathana and Vidyartha which was played at the Royal Sports Complex ground.
In short let the boys play the game and anyone watching the game should not try to take the law into their hands, whether winning or losing let the game of rugby be the ultimate winner.