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