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 TRC rugby committee for year 2015 – 2016

President: Mr.Priya Paranavitane

Vice Presidents: Mr.Mohan Fernando, Mr.Vasantha Ramanayake

Secretary: Mr.Suranga Kulawickrama
Asst. Secretary: Mr.Janaka Widanagamage

Treasurer: Mr.Shanaka Piyumal
Asst. Treasurer: Mr.Samantha Weerasinghe

Liaison Officer – 1st XV Team: Mr.Shivantha Pradeep
Liaison Officer – Under 18 Team: Mr.Nadeesh Fernando
Liaison Officer – Under 16 Team: Mr.Indika Maligaspe
Liaison Officer – Under 14 Team: Mr.Chaminda Fonseka
Liaison Officer – Under 13 & 12 Team: Mr.Lee Tum Lee
Liaison Officer – Under 10 Team: Mr. Ishan De Silva

Academic Coordinator: OBU Functional Secretary
The 500 Club Coordinator: Mr.Mahesh Kodagoda
Fund Raising Coordinator: Mr.Suranjith Swaris
Media Coordinator: Mr.Navindu Thisara

Advisory: Mr.Bhathiya Seebert




News Archive Rugby News


News Archive Rugby News

Thurstan beat Thomians


Thurstan beat Thomians

Thurstan College staged a superb second half rally to beat S Thomas College Mount Lavinia by 22 points to eight points in their Singer inter-school under 19 -A division league rugby tournament match worked off at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday.

After the scores had been level eight all at half time Thurstan College came back strongly in the second half and went on to pull off their first win for the season while collecting their points from two goals, one try and one penalty.

The Thomians managed to score only a solitary try and one penalty all in the first half as they crashed to their third straight defeat in the tournament having earlier lost to Trinity College Kandy (6-75) and Kingswood College (6-63).



In another Division 1 match of Group A played yesterday at the Sugathadasa Stadium, Thurstan created a shock by beating S.Thomas 22-8.

Rugby Rugby News

My Rugby days at Thurstan by – Vernon Caldera

My Rugby Days at Thurstan

By Vernon Caldera – 2007 March

I began life at Thurstan from the kindergarten in 1950 and my interests were not much in the class room even from early days. I loved cricket and had no difficulty in getting in to the under 14 team at the first ever opportunity, in junior cricket we played with most leading schools and fared very well. However,   I developed a liking to Rugby and this was not surprising as most cricketers were in the Rugby team too.

I was also inspired by two pioneers of Thurstan Rugby from my neighborhood Surath Wickremasighe (Our first Captain 1957 & 58) and Jeff Rutnam (who skippered Sri Lanka) to whom we owe much for the strong foundation for Rugby. As T M K Samat another of the pioneers & one of the greatest scribes once wrote Thurstan was then an “L” shaped school and the going was not easy. Not very well known in the rugby circles sans a play ground or old boy support every thing was tough from practicing in the corner of the old Racecourse and obtaining fixtures, and personalities like Surath will be hard to forget for their courage, determination and leadership that  paved the way for us to recognition..

My first big year in Rugby was in 1962 when I got in to the 1st XV under Rajah Wirasekera (now domiciled in Germany) and our  happiest moment was when we surprised  Colombo with a superb win over St Peters and this did give us lot of encouragement. In 1963 we probably fielded the best ever team we had by enjoying a magnificent season losing only to Trinity in Kandy. It was a superb well knit team that was always together both on & off the field excepting in the class room!  The team had six classy players and Deepal de Zoysa was the captain, Ranjit Jayawardena was the vice captain  Indra Piyatissa was the secretary.  The fact that Deepal, Ranjith, Indra and Srinath Gunasekera were picked to represent the Colombo Schools (then dominated by Royal, St Peters & Zahira) and Ranjith was elected as captain for the prestigious Gratiaen cup between Colombo & Up-country Schools, speaks of our team.

Indra’s house was just opposite the college and it was our centre of operations. We practiced mainly at the Race course (Old CH & FC) and University grounds, and Indra as an efficient secretary organized many fun filled outstation matches,  Our coaches were two of the best at that time Brian Mills & Kavan Rambukwella.  Our trips had many interesting anecdotes; Let me share only a few that could be published!!  Our first friendly was against Navy at the Dockyard in Trinco and we boarded the train from Colombo Fort, when stopped at Maho, Deepal whose father was the Station Master got a bright idea that we should move on to 1st Class, we jumped at the idea & followed him but our fun was short lived when the Ticket checkers stormed and it was simply luck & persuasion that saved us from being taken to the Police.  Next was a match against Kandy Lake club (then playing in Clifford cup) at Bogambara, we were put up at Queens then one of the best hotels in the country our heavy meal extended the post lunch snooze and when we woke up, it was the time for the match, we ran to the grounds and were beaten soundly only to get a good leathering following day from our usually calm MIC Athula Ratnayake and was lucky to escape from further punishment from Principal Late Mr. M. D. Gunewardena.

School season was terrific & we really played hard that put the opposing teams at bay. I still remember well the Zahira (then a leading team) match where Ranjith Jayawardena after collecting a kick punted ahead collected his own punt and dashed over to score a brilliant try that made us winners. Next was the Royal match at University grounds where we were up against strong Royal Team, match was played at a terrific pace and scores were nil all for most part of the game when Ranjith Jayawadena scored another brilliant try to be converted by Full back Senaka Jinadasa to give us a truly memorable victory & we became instant heroes . Last match was against star studded St Thomas’ Mt Lavinia at the Race course.  Deepal who played as wing forward was a fiery tackler who had a tendency to go for the ankle and the match was barely few minutes old when  Deepal sent the Thomian captain Mohan Samarasonghe  playing at fly half off the field with a bone crunching tackle.. Being a rainy day, in front of a large crowd neither side has scored when almost at the long whistle in semi darkness yours truly dived through the legs of Thomian scrum half Tony Sirimanne (who later on coached Thurstan) for a try, but to our disappointment try was disallowed and the referee who was our coach called off the match stating the lines were not visible and the crowd was encroaching the field.

The team as I remember (with apologies to memory lapses) as follows

Front Row- Wimal Kulatunga, Indra Piyatissa,  Susantha de Silva

Second Row   Dushyantha Samarasekera, Bobby Senaweera

Third row   Ranjit Jayawardena, Vernon Caldera, Deepal de Zoysa

Halves- Srinath Gunasekera & Lionel Wickremasekera

Three Quarters- Vasantha Jayawardena, “Baba” Fonska, Ananda Karunaratne & T. N. Fernando

Full back  Senaka Jinadasa.

Stand byes were Mahinda Wijayaratne, Mangala Ratnayake, Mahinda Seneviratne, K L Perera, Lal Kumarage, G Kularatne, Sunil Jayakody & J Rodrigo as I remember.

Unfortunately Indra Piyatissa, Deepal de Zoysa, Lionel Wickremasekra and Susantha de Silva are not among the living today.

At the end of the season, Ranjit Jayawadena walked in to Havelocks team, Deepal and Dushyantha joined CR while the rest of us who were leaving school went to form the nucleus of the 1st ever NCC Rugby team. Well, we enjoyed our Rugby days, made many friends and even after four decades we are still very much linked together.

I am delighted by the initiative taken by Sarath Weerasuriya to regroup the past Rugby players and wish Chula Dharmadasa a former National player cum selector and young Suranga Kulawickrema all success in their efforts to build up Rugby at Thurstan.

VERNON CALDERA represented Thurstan in Rugby, Cricket and Table Tennis and on leaving school joined NCC representing them in Cricket, Rugby Tennis & Hockey. Latterly he played for Nomads & CCC. On retiring from active sports Vernon became an outstanding Golfer and a Squash Player until an injury forced him out of sports. 

Rugby Rugby News

My Rugby days at Thurstan by – Dushyantha Samarasekera

My Rugby Years at Thurstan by – Dushyantha Samarasekera

When I started attending rugby practices in 1960, I was just 13 years old. The master-in-charge of rugby at the time was Mr. A.B.J.L. Fernando and the 1st XV Captain was Nihal de Silva. I went for practices with the hope of either playing for the U-15 or U?17 team, but unfortunately we could not find enough players to form either team. However, I continued to attend practices regularly until the end of the season.

At the time Thurstan College used to practice at the CH&FC grounds at the Race Course on Reid Avenue. CH&FC had two rugby fields ? one of which was the best rugby field in all of Asia ? we were given the opportunity to practice on the second field. We also had the good fortune of having the services of then famous referee ? Brian Mills ? to coach our team that year.

In 1961, I continued to attend practice and the same trio headed rugby at Thurstan ? captain ? Nihal de Silva, coach ? Brian Mills, and MiC ? Mr. A.B.J.L. Fernando. This year we had enough players attending practices and although we were unable to form a U-15 or U-17 team, we were able to include a 2nd XV team, and a few schools like Royal, St. Peters, and St. Joseph?s gave us games before the senior game. I was glad to have been able to play in most of those games.

In 1962, the captain was Raja Weerasekera and the team was coached by the famous CR&FC centre three quarter ? Kavan Rambukwella. This year the MiC of rugby was Mr. Athula Ratnayaka and the numbers at practice had definitely increased. There were days when Kavan took us to the CR&FC main grounds for practices and we also had the opportunity to play against some of the top ranked players at the time who gave us good opposition. Some of them even treated us with soft drinks after practices! This year I was able to play for the 1st XV side in every game and at the end of the year was awarded rugby colours. This being my first year with the 1st XV side, I really enjoyed playing alongside some great players ? we won a few games as well.

The year 1963 was a memorable year for rugby at College under the captaincy of that dashing wing forward ? Deepal de Soysa. We were coached by another CR&FC centre three-quarter ? Noel Bevan ? who subsequently migrated to Australia at the end of the rugby season, and again the MIC of rugby was ? Mr. Athula Ratnayaka. We beat most of the big schools and if I remember right, only lost to Trinity College up in Kandy as they refused to travel down to Colombo to play us. I can well remember that the first game was against St. Peters College and we beat them well. The next game was against St. Joseph?s and in this game I fractured my wrist and had to leave the field in the middle of the second half ? we won this game as well. After the game I was taken to hospital where my arm was set in a cast and advised to rest for three months. We were scheduled to play Royal College two weeks after and under no circumstances was I ever going to miss that game, so I cut the cast off my arm and went to the local Veda Mahattaya who wrapped a ?pattu? around my wrist and I played the game against Royal ? which we won. I continued to play the rest of the season with the ?pattu?!!!!! It was a memorable year of rugby for me and I enjoyed playing with great players like ? Deepal de Soysa, Ranjith Jayawardana, Wimal Kulatunga, and Indra Piyatissa ? just to name a few, and many others.

In 1964 the captain was Srinath Gunasekera and we were fortunate to obtain the services of Kavan Rambukwella to coach us again. The MiC of rugby, once again, was Mr. A.B.J.L. Fernando. Practices continued to be held at the CH&FC grounds and occasionally Kavan would take us for practice to the CR&FC grounds as well. We had another good season winning quite a few games.

After leaving College, I coached the Thurstan rugby teams from 1979 to 1981 ? thereby enabling me to give some rugby back to my Alma Mater.

I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the following who have passed away since our memorable rugby days at Thurstan ? Kavan Rambukwella, Deepal de Soysa, T.N. Cutilan, Indra Piyatissa, L. Kumarage, Lional Wickremasekera, E.K.R. Wijewardhana, Gamini Pathirana, Watson de Silva, and any others whom I may have missed ? may their souls rest-in-peace and may the turf lie gently over them.

In conclusion, I wish to thank the old boys for their continued support to rugby at Thurstan College ? keep up the good work!

Dushyantha Samarasekera (Dushy)

Vancouver, BC, Canada

2007 March

News Archive Rugby Rugby News

Thurstan Rugby Stadium Project launched

It was day of great joy and historical significance for Thurstan when they launched their Rugby development project at a colourful ceremony attended by Minister of Sports and Recreation Gamini Lokuge and Namal Rajapaksa, President of the Tharunyata Hetak Organization at the Thurstan Park, Prof. Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha on Friday Dec 4th 2009.

It was a dream comes true for this intrepid school that was badly hampered due to lack of their own grounds for Rugby. As quoted by veteran scribe T.M.K. Samat better known in boxing circles the beginning was in 1957 when some boys got together and played around sans participation in official tournaments.

The year 1957 was the first official year of Thurstan Rugby and the honour of being the first Captain went to Surath Wickremasinghe who also captained the team in 1958, fitting Surath was a distinguished invitee and had the privilege of cutting the first sod along with other distinguished guests.

Namal Rajapaksa in his speech tracing his Rugby roots elaborated his commitment to Rugby and expressed his satisfaction on the manner the recent Carlton Sevens tournament was conducted.

He also recalled that his father President Mahinda Rajapaksa?s involvement in Rugby during his school days at Thurstan.

President Rajapaksa was a leading member of Thurstan?s champion school athletic team in 1960/61 and also had a brief stint with Rugby but continued to concentrate on athletics that was close to his heart.

With the development of the proposed Rugby ground Thurstan is bound to be a force to be reckoned with as they no longer will have to do nomadic rounds seeking venues for practices and matches.

Despite the handicap of not having grounds Thurstan over the last half a century had produced an array of eminent Rugby players and administrators at the highest level making a noble contribution to the game.

Jeff Rutnam who played from 1957 to 59 had the honour of leading Ceylon to its first ever international victory over Paris University Club.

The architect behind the Rugby development and Revival DIG (Rtd) Upali Hewage also a member of the Rugby Interim Committee who has been a tower of strength behind Thurstan Rugby for nearly three decades.

In his vote of thanks he expressed his gratitude to the President for initiating to provide a block of land for the ground and also paid a glowing tribute to the Minister of Sports Gamini Lokuge in helping the proposed development.

Even though large number of schools have taken up to Rugby in the last few years there has not been any increase of Rugby grounds in Colombo for past several decades. This is a major dilemma faced by the schools as well as emerging smaller clubs.

Hence the entry of Thurstan Rugby ground will be a significance boost to the development of Rugby in Sri Lanka, close proximity to the Rugby Union Headquarters too will be a positive factor.

Sunil Karuanayake

Rugby Rugby News

My Rugby days at Thurstan by – Mangala Ratnayake

My Rugby days at Thurstan by – Mangala  Ratnayake

Thurstan rugby’s Golden era was when we had the Team with illustrious names like Ranjith Jayawardena,Deepal Zoysa,Lional Wickremasekara,Dushyantha Samarasekera to name a few ,when we beat Royal college for the first time, and I think went through unbeaten. I will write this article more as a historical record of events and people involved during my time.

My first year of Rugby was 1965, Indra Piyatissa captained  the team, SSM Gunasekera, Lal Kumarage,DAT Alwis, Nihal Dharmadasa, Graetian Gunawardhana, G.Wedagedara, K.L.Perera, Mahinda Wijeyaratna, Sunil Jayakody, Lalith Peris,Wasantha  Perera, E S C Fernando, were the  regulars in the team There were others like Nandalal Jayawardena,K.Maligaspe ,Arthur,WPW Perera ,Upali Liyanage who were in and out of the team from time to time. The team was coached by Kavan Rambukwella, and Mr Joe Fernando was the master in charge. We had a reasonable year winning most matches and losing some narrowly.

1966 was a tough year for our Rugby, most of the seniors had left Sunil Jayakody was the captain. I was his deputy, we lost our grounds (CR &FC), so we were allowed to practice twice a week in the CR &FC  hockey grounds, the rest of the days we had to use Brownrigg Park [ present the college & ground of Sirimavo Vidyalaya ], we had no regular coach and A R M Faiza  helped with the team sometimes. We had an enthusiastic bunch of freshers who joined the team like Tissa Nanayakkara, Hemantha Devapura, Jayantha Dias, Milinda Ratnayake, ST Fernando, P.Harrison, L.Wijekoon, Upali Hewage, P.Athukorale. The senior players had the added responsibility of coaching and mentoring the junior players.

I  captained  the team in 1967, I had Tissa Nanayakkara as deputy.Mr K.Wijedasa was the master in charge. Of the seniors,G.Wedagedara, GW Perera, Upali Liyamage, Milinda Ratnayake, H.Devapura , Upali Hewage, G Athukorala.  U.Jayasingha remained and the newcomers were Kanthi Senaratna, Niroshan de Silva, H.Bouydwin.

We had mixed results, lost narrrowly to Zahira (5-3) and lost the inaugural match for the Abdul Jabbar shield with Isipathana (6-3), which we could have won had Tissa Nana converted 4 missed penalty kicks.We beat St Marys, Beat Wesly college (13- nil) and held Royal to a draw( 6-6), We beat St Anthony’s Kandy (11-9) lost badly to St. Peters (22 nil).

A word about the second string- There were some outstanding boy?s, who turned up for training without fail, and for their sheer enthusiasm needs to be  mentioned – Suranimala Abeygoonesekara, Mohan Karunaratna, Gamini Thilakasiri, Palitha Harrison ,STK Fernando, Kumar Devapura to mention a few

It is well documented that so many players from this period went on to represent  clubs,  defence services and Police.

Whether the team was winning or loosing, there were some faithful supporters who always turned up for our matches, Priya Paranavitane, Bhathiya Seebert and Upali Ahangama were always around to support the team. From the staff Mr  Joe Fernando was always present. The new Principal Mr. PM Jayathilake encouraged and supported rugby, encouraged students and staff to attend important matches. In our days building a team was a real problem, as we lost most of the players when we got the GCE OL results and we had to start from scratch again.

On a lighter note it was standard practice for the players go across to Thurstan caf [ now named as Raheema ] for a feed or walk to Mayfair at Bamba for ‘Elu katu soup’ as that was all we could afford as students. (Thosay was 5 cents, soup was 20 cents).Sometimes the waiters could be seen running behind the players to collect the bills!

Mangala  Ratnayake

Auckland, New Zealand

2007 March

Rugby Rugby News

My Rugby days at Thurstan by – Gamini Thilakasiri Ranasingha

My Rugby days at Thurstan by – Gamini Thilakasiri Ranasingha

I was introduced to Rugby by one of my class mates Lalith Samaranayaka. I had no idea what so ever about the game. I started towards the tail end of the season and managed to play two games in the 2nd XV. That was in 1966 when Sunil Jayakody was our 1st XV captain.

The following year we were left  with a few old players in the 2nd XV and a few of us making an impression. The year started under Mangala Rathnayaka as the captain and 2nd XV with no captain. It was not officially announced. The boys thought I was eligible and L. Gulawita thought he was the most popular guy. Our first match of the season was with Wesley ? we ran on to the field thinking that I was the captain. Guluwita thought that he was going to be the captain. I ran ahead of him and he ran past me to be the first. We both sprinted to the field leaving behind the rest of the team, which would have looked hilarious. As my position was scrum half I had a better control of the game where as Gulawita was in the wing. Anyway we managed to beat Wesley College 3 nil, which was, I suppose, the more important fact!!

Later that season I was chosen to play in the 1st XV with Rohan Boudwyn as the fly half.

We were very unfortunate with no home grounds to practice and facing many difficulties. Nevertheless Indra Piyatissa, T N Cutilan and Dushyantha Samarasekara came to our aid and coached us. It was of tremendous help to our team and D.Samarasekara managed to get us into CR & FC grounds for training. When we practiced at common Brownrigg Park [ Present college & ground of Sirimavo Balika Vidyalya] there was no running water and no dressing rooms etc. On many occasions Dilip Gunewardana who lived in Brownrigg Park used to connect a garden hose outside his house for us to drink water and wash ourselves up after training, since most of our Rugby players travelled from outer city and had long distances to return to their homes.

In later years I managed to help organize Rugby at Thurstan with Nanayakkara brothers, Mangala Ratnayaka, Dushy Samarasekara, Vipula Dharmadasa and Basil Rodrigo as coaches. That was the period that we introduced the Old boys vs. Present boys match played for the shield donated by Kumar Devapura in 1986.

The Rugby which was introduced and taught to me by Lalith Samaranayaka, Indra Piyatissa, T N Cutilan, Upali Ahangama, Dushyantha Samarasekara and Tony Sirimanne ? I have passed on to my sons who love the game and play it well at club level and for the State of Victoria in Australia.

Thanks to the continued support of our old boys, our College and everyone involved in keeping the Thurston flag flying high.

Gamini Thilakasiri Ranasinghe
(Better known as “Kudda”)
Melbourne – Australia