Disgraced Peterite rugby needs a thorough clean-up | Sunday Observer

Disgraced Peterite rugby needs a thorough clean-up

28 August, 2022
The blue white and gold-jerseyed Peterites were mere pushovers for all opponents until a bombshell exploded in an off-field screw-up
The blue white and gold-jerseyed Peterites were mere pushovers for all opponents until a bombshell exploded in an off-field screw-up

Rugby at St. Peter’s College took probably its hardest hit in history that some will frown upon while others will see as a blessing in disguise after the school’s team was stripped of its status and banned for fielding a player that was not academically approved to perform in the concluded 2022 inter-school League championship.

Some might even argue that the Peterites deserved to be singled out as a team that did not play it clean and fair and instead stooped down to some desperate tactic when what should have mattered most was playing the game and showcasing the hallowed values at one of the most disciplined institutions in the country that can boast of a jealously guarded tradition.

It ought to be a crying shame that a school like St. Peter’s College with a rich rugby image and tradition had to break the rules so as to enlist a player who did not fit the bill.

But what the present day Peterites and most prominently their concerned old boys will find the hardest to overcome is that the school paid scant respect to the many illustrious players who wore the rugby jersey with pride, passed through its sacred portals, played like true gentlemen and did not have to serve the interests of commercial aristocrats.

Coach Sanath Martis may take credit for winning several trophies for the Peterites, but every year cannot hold a past although every present year holds a future. If St. Peter’s College had to disregard Martis’ presence, then it is time he too takes a hard look at himself and move on, if he intends to take his career in coaching to a higher level which he has all the right to do.

There will not be a need for the pundits to make their assessment of what went wrong with the Peterites this year. What they did on the field was in plain sight for the paying spectators to see. Some of the players did not know which direction to run or see the open spaces to find touch and gain ground and could be the team that can pick up an award for dropped passes or passing without purpose.

If they needed some extra homework all they had to do was witness the way the Isipathana College team played.

The will to win or lose with dignity was written on the faces of every Isipathana player that made them a cut above the rest.

But the question that is being asked by many is whether its school heads should march out each and every time the team plays a match and have some of the players fall at their feet in what is considered a gesture of traditional worship at the pre-kick off which is unbecoming of Christian clergymen.

Being a religious institution, the role of its Christian clerics should be to serve, but instead some of them display how honoured they are to be served by players falling at their feet and Heaven may know more.

Their old boys will have many a tale to tell. One faction stays out and the other faction controls the inner circle with both parties on the lookout to pick holes in each others’ attire.

But with the current disgrace brought upon the school, they can now find common ground in that both parties will have to agree that outsiders or non-Peterites have turned the school’s culture upside down to suit their vested interests.

The Peterites also had one of the most vibrant media followings that many schools did not have and in all probability either took it for granted or disregarded the role of media personnel.

Technically St. Peter’s College has all the right in the world to seek legal redress, but the ground reality to the average layman is that the school’s rugby ended up in a most unhealthy state ever imaginable in the 2022 season and proved beyond doubt by the fact that they had to desperately insert a shadowy player.

Their exclusion from the Knock-Out championship is a heavy price to pay and is perhaps the only blessing that came their way in an otherwise atrocious season.