YC the man who pioneered club rugby professionalism | Sunday Observer

YC the man who pioneered club rugby professionalism

YC Chang
YC Chang

Former Kandy Sports Club’s star rugby player YC Chang can easily be considered as one of the finest exponents of all time in the country with a sound track record, both as a player and administrator in Sri Lanka’s rugby history.

He started his schooling at Carey College, Colombo and later joined Trinity College, where he excelled in cricket as a ‘stumper’ at junior level and played junior rugby.

At club level Chang can be rated as the best front-row forward having played U/17 for Trinity College in 1959/60. He crossed over to Havelock Sports Club in 1961/63 and thereafter he joined Kandy SC in 1964 while he was a tea planter in the district from 1964 to 1970. He captained the club in 1967, 1968 and 1970 after the late Lt. Gen. Denzil Kobekkaduwa crossed back to the Army.

He was Secretary of the Kandy SC in 1968. In 1971 he left for Colombo on change of employment and joined the CH & FC, representing the club as player and coach. He captained the side in 1971/72 and won the League title many times until 1984. He captained the Sri Lanka team at the Asiad in 1972.

In 1974 YC was tipped to lead the country at the Asiad which was held in Colombo for the first time. But he was deprived on disciplinary grounds by the Union when as captain of CH he led the side off the field before the final whistle at a match due to an unreasonable dispute. On the contrary, players of today get away with some of the worst offenses and are pardoned irrespective of the charges and lead the country too.

It was at Havelocks that YC went on to be recognized as one of the best rugby players in the country at that time. He played along with top players like Nimal Maralande, Dr. Hubert Aloysius, Ken de Joodt, Mike de Alwis, Conrad Ephraums, Maurice Anghie, Dr. Trevor Anghie, G. Sumanasekera and Gamini Fernando to name a few. But it was at Kandy Sports Club that he earned more fame as an excellent player and leader.

He represented the All-Ceylon Barbarians team at the age of 18 years and was a member of the first Asiad team in 1970 led by Nizar Hadji Omar.

Some of his teammates at Kandy SC were Gavin Stevens, Mohan Balasuriya, Dr. B. Makuloluwa, Rohan Abeyasundera, Deepal de Soysa, Jadi Dissanayake, Gamini Abeyakoon, Jayantissa Ratwatte, Cyril Aluwihare, S. Piyasena, Lakshman Samarajiva, Chang Fa Ching, Shafie Jainudeen, Iswan Omar and Frederick Prins with Denzil Kobbekaduwa as coach.

It was YC who helped the Nittawela Club to enter the Cup final when the late Denzil Kobbekkaduwa led the side with Maurice Perera the national player in 1955, as the coach.

Chang was rated as one of the best presidents of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union with a vision towards rugby development. It was he who took the Clifford Cup tournament to Kandy. He implemented and familiarized the training schedules for the national Pool and even helped the national teams to tour many countries.

He is the one who helped clubs to procure sponsors and that is what has brought the clubs to its present reputable status. He was a firm believer that club rugby is the backbone of a country and the main source of constant supply of talent for national teams.