Chicken or the egg – which came first; Kandy’s dilemma

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL -

While Kandy ap­pears to be stalk­ing the scene there was news which con­veyed the pos­si­bil­ity of the club be­ing sus­pended for not re­leas­ing their play­ers for na­tional duty. This is not a new prob­lem but some­thing that has sur­faced over the years. Sri Lanka is not alone in the is­sue as many coun­tries play­ing rugby at the top end of world rugby have the same is­sue. What we need to look at is how these coun­tries han­dled the prob­lem.

Aus­tralia seems to have a more work­able so­lu­tion while coun­tries like Eng­land and Wales have come to a work­ing ar­range­ment. Sources from Kandy con­firmed that the thought of in­vok­ing a ban is pre­ma­ture as play­ers have a con­tract only to the club and not the union.

On the other hand, it is a choice of the play­ers and why should the club be re­spon­si­ble is what they ask. The ques­tion how­ever is how do you in­cul­cate the think­ing coun­try first with­out com­pli­cat­ing and lim­it­ing it to thought only. I had the chance to watch a lo­cal video cen­tered around a person who lives for the day and uses his brains en­ergy to live by his wits but with no re­course to vi­o­lence.

A news re­port which read as -- “a con­struc­tion site worker rapes a young girl” the char­ac­ter on the small screen uses the story to con­vey a mes­sage for pos­i­tive think­ing. He retells for his ben­e­fit in sell­ing a train­ing pro­gram.

He changes the plot. A youth had an in­ter­est in a girl; this mo­ti­vates him to work­ing hard earn­ing more, study­ing, do­ing a bet­ter job and mar­ry­ing the girl. Fol­low this and there is no rape. A fairy tale though sounds a pos­i­tive story. The is­sue is then that all are happy. What do I say this week? It was great rugby run­ning into the fourth week, see­ing be­lieves and peo­ple should take the op­por­tu­nity to come for rugby matches and sup­port their team.

While pon­der­ing I came across an in­ter­view given to an­other na­tional news­pa­per by former rugby stal­wart Y .C. Chang, a man with a proud record of achieve­ments in the his­tory of Sri Lankan rugby. The ti­tle was Sri Lanka should play its own brand of rugby. “The union has to re­assess, you must re­think this game in an indige­nous man­ner. Our peo­ple love the move­ment of the ball, love to see play­ers run­ning, so cre­ate rules that will fit that pat­tern, don’t worry about the in­ter­na­tional scene,” said Chang.

“Sta­tis­ti­cally, we will never reach the top four of the world and for that mat­ter we won’t reach the top four in the Asian cir­cuit. So, one can’t say that with all this pro­fes­sion­al­ism and all that, we have done well. Dur­ing our time in the six­ties we matched up to the Euro­pean planters, they were tough and our score was not bad. We played all those in­ter­na­tional teams that came here and they de­feated us by some 15, 20 or 30 points but now they just can’t do it. They can’t meet a side like New Zealand or Aus­tralia and not get ham­mered by 150 points,” he said.

Kandy is a side that has played con­sis­tently in the first four weeks of Sri Lankan rugby. Those play­ers are the core of life of lo­cal rugby so how do we get them to think of “coun­try first.” Is it a neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment they need? For which you need to marry the player and club to the na­tional team. Or do we read, di­gest and prac­tice as Chang says.

It was only in their first out­ing against CH that Kandy met some re­sis­tance. CH and FC, who have only won one match so far, have been within strik­ing dis­tance in the other matches. Rugby last week saw close scores other than the game where Kandy had a very con­vinc­ing win over Air Force. The scores are not a re­flec­tion of thrilling or ex­cit­ing rugby. It is the re­sult of games which are more stop starts par­tially ham­pered by the wet ground con­di­tions. Lead­ing to ask a ques­tion as to whether change of sea­son has the de­sired ef­fects. It is not only the wet con­di­tions but also fad­ing light that af­fects games.

Kandy has been march­ing, shov­ing aside the op­po­si­tion so far, but have yet to meet the teams at the top of the league. They met CR on Satur­day, while they have to play Navy and Have­locks in the next two weeks. CR ap­pears to be like a bal­loon with less gas sway­ing around which­ever way the wind blows. Hav­ing made a great come­back against the Navy, they have been much less im­pres­sive in the weeks there­after and lost to Army last week. While giv­ing recog­ni­tion to the Army for a well de­served win, it must be stated that the medi­ocre per­for­mance by CR can­not be set off against the re­sult­ing soggy con­di­tions aris­ing from a huge down­pour just be­fore the game. Vesrab­ula, a former Sri Lankan Na­tional coach now in charge of CR, will need to put his Fi­jian think­ing cap on or wave the magic wand to pol­ish CR for the com­ing few weeks.

Navy, like Have­lock’s, have won three of their matches but have been less con­vinc­ing in the last two weeks and were lucky to pip CH al­most at the blast of the fi­nal whis­tle.

Navy have been through an un­usual pas­sage of play which is be­com­ing their call sign. Hav­ing a con­vinc­ing lead at the break in three weeks of rugby, Navy then are at sea in the sec­ond half. At sea to a sailor is fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory be­ing aboard a ship. At sea as used by Charles Dick­ens was to em­pha­size be­ing per­plexed where the id­iom trans­fers the con­di­tion of a ves­sel that has lost its bear­ings to the hu­man mind; that sums up the per­for­mance of Navy.

They have three matches in the com­ing weeks and a tough one against Kandy; but are well poised to be in the first three at the end of the first round. I don’t be­lieve that Navy will go into sleep mode in the com­ing weeks. Pos­sess­ing a young side hav­ing lost some key play­ers to other clubs, they have done well so far. An­other side though un­lucky not to regis­ter more wins is CH and FC who have done well.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Sri Lanka

© PressReader. All rights reserved.