Shane Pinder - A rugby legend and a gentlemen | Daily News

Shane Pinder - A rugby legend and a gentlemen

S. Thomas’ College 1978 1st-xv Rugby Team

To Shane Pinder, rugby is not just a game - it’s a passion and a passionate pastime in his life. As a financier he still cherishes the lessons he learnt as an outstanding rugby captain for his alma mater S.Thomas College Mount Lavinia in 1978. Perhaps, sports would have been the reason for his gaining an employment opportunity in one of USA’s major financial institutions.

Talking to the ‘Daily News’ in his Colombo residence hours before his departure to USA, he recalled how an illustrious sports career could help build one’s character. “I believe in teamwork. This is one major lesson that my favourite game - rugby has taught me throughout the years,” said Shane Pinder.

“Sports helped me to imbibe qualities such as leadership, sharing work, character building, delegating work, determination and having faith in my team mates,” he said. Like in many others, school time was the best era of Pinder’s life. “I owe everything to my school; actually it is not just a school, but an institution where students’ characters were nurtured with dignity and honesty.”

Speaking further Pinder said, “After winning all our matches including a 6 all draw against arch rivals Royal we unfortunately lost to Trinity 6-27 in 1978. This loss made me determined to somehow win the Centenary knock out Rugby championship in 1978 under my captaincy.

S.Thomas’ had great years in rugby in 1989 under Rizvie Suhaib, 1990 Naren Perera and 1991 under Charya De Saram, but Pinder chose 1978 as the pick of it.

“All above are great years of our college rugby and great teams led by those fabulous leaders but I personally believe it’s undoubtedly the 1978 team that stands out from the rest, not because I was the captain but due to the fact that we played with only five colours men and 10 fresher’s,” recalled Pinder.

“My best moment in school rugby was when under my captaincy in 1978 in the Centenary knock out championship we won against the unbeaten league champions Royal College in the semi finals when my team mate and cracking centre Christopher Jordashe intercepted and ran nearly 85 meters to score the match winning try which I still cherish and can recall the rugby commentator Bob Harvey stating “ The spectacular Jordashe’s try tore the heart of all Royalists”. When a group of young men play as a team and not as individuals they can achieve great success against all odds. “Further from that 1978 Thomian team, several players played club rugby, some captained their respective clubs and some players went on to represent the Sri Lanka national team which was a real pleasure for me as their captain,” Pinder said.

Turning his attention on and going down memory lane Pinder spoke highly of his centre, ex CR & FC captain, Sri Lanka national player and 1979 Thomian captain Christopher Jordashe. “Christo” was a true and humble gentleman on and off the field, a superb player who at a glance knew all our moves” I knew all his moves very well as the captain cum full back and supported him all the way. With our combination we scored many tries for S.Thomas. Speaking further he said Christo was undoubtedly one of the best players in the front line of the 1978 Thomian team. Pinder added that every one of his team members, gave of their best in each of their positions.

Shane Pinder had the unique feat of representing champion Havelock Sports Club in the knockout tournament in 1978 as a full back while still a schoolboy and earned a reputation as a much sought-after ruggerite.

He said “in the 1977 SLRFU knock out rugby tournament, I played for Havies as a full back and came out with flying colours in the quarter finals as well as in the semi finals but I did not play in the finals as the selectors decided I was too young. I was selected to play in the 10 man touring squad for Sri Lanka national sevens team in Hong Kong and was awarded my national team jersey as well as I was in the touring 10 man team photograph.

“In 1979 I decided to hang my boots and move to Australia when I sustained a knee injury during the Mercantile Sevens Tournament. I later moved to the US and have been living there since then with my wife, son and daughter.”

The 10 man Sri Lankan national sevens team which went to Hong Kong sevens in 1978 comprised Bharatha Hegoda, Hisham Abdeen, late Sandy Hameed, Wimal Eparachchi, Saman Jayasinghe, Angelo Wickramaratne, Ajith Silva and Rohantha Peiris.

In conclusion Pinder said, “My father, mother , my two uncles Jeff and Dan Ratnam, and STC head coach Quintin Israel “Quinta” have been my major inspiration in life, and I am eternally grateful to all of them.

In order for Sri Lankan rugby to improve and reach higher standards, I believe we should leave politics out of the game, and that goes for school, club and national rugby.”

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