Tag rugby to restart schools season? | Sunday Observer

Tag rugby to restart schools season?

1 August, 2021

Plans are afoot to kick start schools rugby from September to go on until October. Already meetings have been held to begin with tag rugby followed by Sevens and then go on to the fifteen-a-side knock-out tournament to bring out the best talent among school children.

Veteran official Dilroy Fernando said that schoolboy players have not played for nearly two years now and their body will be rusty and not well tuned to play smooth rugby. The players have to be more careful too when making contact with other players to avoid injuries.

“Already sixteen schools have been selected to begin the game with tag rugby which has less contact. This will be followed by a Sevens tournament and move on to the full contact game in a knock-out tournament.

“Meetings are held more regularly between the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) and the health authorities and the ministries to begin the game,” said Fernando.

The referees too are undergoing refresher courses about three days of the week with Dilroy Fernando being the main instructor. They are divided into different categories such as top level club referees to juniors who have just taken to refereeing.

“Some of these referees and coaches have left their jobs to take up to officiating but now they have no income. The pandemic has left them high and dry but Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) is not doing anything to help them out of this dismal situation,” noted Fernando.

These coaches and referees had nothing to do with the sport after the country was locked down due to the pandemic. This put them in a spot without any income during this period.

However, this cannot go on for too long and like other countries who have begun playing other sports Sri Lanka too have to get down to the field. Perhaps, as told by some doctors exercising will help keep away the virus from infecting a person.

Renown coach Sanath Martis said that his only profession is coaching rugby teams. He is however very fortunate to receive his income monthly though no rugby is played. He is the coach at Havelocks and St. Peter’s College.

“Sri Lanka Rugby is not responsible to pay coaches any money. However, the national players sign a contract with SLR and are paid a fee, but that too has been stopped due to the stoppage of the game. Some of these players have no jobs too and will have to find a way to earn a living,” said Martis.

‘Players in the Forces will get their monthly income as they make a contribution monthly towards their sports clubs and they pay out of this income. Clubs and schools that have grounds cannot earn any money by way of renting out their grounds for various events held. Schools that do not have a ground hire the ground for their matches, companies used to hire the grounds to conduct their sports and social events and there is no income these days. Everything is at a standstill without any income,” stressed Martis.

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