Isipathana players assault Peterites | Sunday Observer

Isipathana players assault Peterites

14 July, 2019
The commotion that followed the violence
The commotion that followed the violence

Just when many rugby followers thought Isipathana College had granted sportsmanship and non-violence its due place, it was up to the old game, this time when their players attacked and assaulted their counterparts from St. Peter’s College unable to stomach defeat in the Milo sponsored Knock-Out tournament semi final at the Royal College Sports Complex ground yesterday.

Within seconds of the final whistle that signalled a 19-14 win for the Peterites, the Isipathana players instead of congratulating their opponents unleashed all their fury and assaulted members of the winning team.

They even kicked a fallen Peterite player who was unable to stand on his feet after he was caught up in the violence.

One of the former Isipathana players who knew it was a bad show on the part of his players under his coaching was current Sri Lanka captain Omalka Gunaratne who was also on the field to thwart further violence.

But by that time the damage was done after supporters of Isipathana also joined in to assault the Peterites while it took a while for anti-riot police to intervene.

Some police officers at the scene were more keen on ordering social media not to video the commotion than ensure public safety.

Even after the situation looked like being brought under control, a young Peterite boy was assaulted by Isipathana supporters before he was rescued and taken to the safety of the grand stand by his senior school mates.

It was the fourth time in a row that Isiapthana had lost to the Peterites and the second time this season after defeat in the League tournament.

But what has been most alarming is the fact that violence in schools rugby continues to grow unchecked while corporate companies that sponsor the sport do nothing or very little to ensure a violent-free season with commercial mileage seemingly the only concern while players and spectators remain exposed to the dangers.

Yesterday’s latest upheaval marked the 12th time in five years that school rugby matches have ended in violence.

Not a single school official or team that should be held responsible or stirred up violence has ever been sanctioned or taken to task.

The sordid episode followed last month’s brutalizing of a match referee by a player or players from St.Joseph’s College in their League match against Royal College at the same venue which is fast gaining notoriety.

The Peterites are scheduled to confront Wesley College in the tournament’s final on July 20 at the same venue, but the worst has already happened.