Maurice Perera never changed his rugby club Kandy SC | Sunday Observer

Maurice Perera never changed his rugby club Kandy SC

Maurice Perera
Maurice Perera

Maurice Perera was a great player, rugby coach and administrator. He was one of the best front row forwards during his days. He learnt his rugby at Trinity College and played in the 1953 team under the captaincy of Dharmasiri Madugalle. In that year Trinity won the Bradby 13-0 and 3-0 and Maurice’s gutty performances made him to win his rugby Colours. Ironically, it was after his 79th birthday that he passed away in 2013.

Maurice has the unique achievement of being a member of the first Clifford Cup final team of Kandy Sports Club. He started his schooling first at Poramadulla Central and later was at Kingswood College and Vidyartha College.

While playing for Trinity College, Barrie Cameron invited him to play for Kandy Sports Club. He was a player, committee member, secretary, treasurer, vice president, senior vice president and rugby coach and was recognized and awarded honorary life membership. The most thrilling moment for Maurice was in 1969 in the Cup final against CR & FC. This time Maurice Perera was the coach of the side and the team was led by the late Lt. Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa.

Maurice is one player who never changed clubs. He started with Kandy Sports Club and was there until the end of his rugby career. It was in 1968 he took up coaching Kandy SC when Fed Murray stepped down as coach. That year the Kandy Sports Club team was led by Y.C Chang and they lost in the semifinals to CR & FC. He participated in three Cup finals, two as a prop forward and the third as the rugby coach.

Later he coached Trinity College and was also the first coach of the Old Trinitians Sports Club. It must be said that when Trinity lost to Royal 62-0 in 1976, one of the heaviest defeats, Maurice was invited to take over Trinity coaching and he did his best. Maurice’s association in rugby was well over 60 years. A disciplinarian he punished any player who failed to adhere to instructions or misbehaved themselves and on one occasion several key players were dropped on charges of indiscipline a decision which he had to make much against various odds.

He was also in the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union as Council member and was one time the National coach and Selector. In 1970, he had the pleasure of learning advanced methods of coaching and development of the game from the Technical Advisor of the Rugby Football Union in Twickenham, under former British Rugby Lion Don Rutherford.

When the Provincial Unions were formed he headed the Central Province Rugby Football Union as its President and introduced rugby to 106 schools in the Central Province and went as far as Wasgamuwa and the girls from Namini Oya Maha Vidyalaya in Hettipola made such an impact that they participated in a women’s rugby tournament in Singapore.

His son Devapriya Perera too played for Trinity College and Kandy Sports Club. He too coached Trinity College and the father and son have the unique record still to be equalled having coached Trinity College at rugby and guided them to win the Bradby Shield. The third generation rugby was his daughter’s son Sean Wanigasekera jnr who played and captained Trinity College in 2007 and was awarded his Rugby Lion. Then his son Devapriya’s twin sons Danesh and Naresh played for Trinity College in 2012 and 2013 and were the first set of twins from Trinity College to play in the 2013 Bradby and his other grand son Sean Wanigasekara captained Trinity in 2008.

One of his greatest success in his rugby career was in 1977 when he took up the challenge as the rugby coach of Trinity College. For the Trinitians nothing is closer to their hearts than winning the Bradby Shield against Royal College. In 1976 they lost the Bradby Shield by the then biggest margin of 62-0 when it was three points for a try. He coached and motivated the Trinity ruggerites to such a level that they took sweet revenge of the Royalists by winning both legs and aggregated 22-10. For this performance the team was rewarded with a trip abroad. He also conducted several coaching camps and tournaments which were all aimed in the development of rugby.

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