Maurice Perera ruggerite and coach par excellence | Daily News

Maurice Perera ruggerite and coach par excellence

Kandy’s rugby lovers still talk about Maurice Perera, who was a top ruggerite, coach and administrator. He was one of the best prop forwards, during his days. He learnt his rugger at Trinity College and played in the 1953 team along with Dharmasiri Madugalle, who was the captain of the team. That year Trinity won the Bradby Shield 13-0 and 3-0, for Maurice’s gutty performances he was awarded the rugger colours. He started his schooling first at Poramadulla Central and later was at Kingswood College and Vidyartha College,in the latter part of his school career he joined Trinity College.

While playing for Trinity, Barrie Cameron invited him to join Kandy Sports Club, and he wanted to take up his fathers business, and he joined the club and played from 1954 for many years, he was a player of this club,committee member, secretary, treasurer, vice president, senior vice president and rugby coach, later he was recognized and awarded Honorary Life Membership.In the very first year he played for Kandy Sports club, that was the first time that Kandy Sports Club entered the Clifford Cup final and played against CR and FC, which the Kandyans lost

Maurice in 1954 played for All Ceylon as a front row forward.There was no Asiad, Hong Kong Sevens or Tri Nations tournaments but only the All-India tournament. In 1954 under the captaincy of Summa Navarthnam, Ceylon team lost to Calcutta in the semi finals by three points, In the following year under Mahesh Rodrigo Sri Lanka won the championship and again in 1956 Ceylon lost to Calcutta. In all the three years Maurice was in the All Ceylon side.

He is one ruggerite 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, when Fred Murray stepped down as coach, that year the Kandy Sports Club team was led by Y.C Chang they lost in the semi finals to CR &FC. He has participated in three Cup finals, two as a prop forward and as the rugby coach.

He was also involved in Vidyartha College Rugby when this school started. Then he gave a helping hand to Sydney Ratwatte to start rugby at E.W.Balasurya’s Kandy Lake Club in the 1960’s. Later he coached Trinity College, and also was the first coach of the Old Trinitains Sports Club.. It must be said, that when in 1976, Trinity lost to Royal 62-0 one of the heaviest defeats, Maurice was invited to take over Trinity coaching and he did his best. Maurice Perera’s, association in rugger was for well over 60 years, with great achievement behind his record. A strict disciplinarian he was ruthless on players and punished any player who failed to adhere to instructions or misbehaved , On one occasion several key players were dropped on charges of indiscipline a decision which he had to make against various odds.

He was also in the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union as council member, He was one time the National Coach and Selector. In 1970, he had the pleasure of learning advanced methods of coaching and development of the rugby, from the Technical Advisor of the Rugby Football Union in Twickenhm,under former British Rugby Lion Don Rutherford. Don had heard from Bosuns Rugby team on tour to Sri Lanka in 1969 about the deteriorating standard of rugby in Sri Lanka, thereafter Don’s best advice to Maurice had been to go out into grass root levels in distant places in search of talent and improve and promote the game in the villages. This concept worked for only a few years under the SLRFU chairmanship of Y.C.Chang and declined .

Maurice also developed rugby in North Central Province. Central Province Rugby Football Union under his Presidency organized and spotted talented youth. Maurice scored an impressive “first” by sending the first ever women’s rugby team to participate in a tournament in Pattaya. When he was with Kandy Sports Club in the 1960’s he was a top cricketer, played for the club in the Division II tournament along with Percy Madugalle, M.E. Marikar, Douglas Fernando, Shelton Ranaraja, Dayan Anthony,Dharmasiri Madugalle, Mervyn Berenger. He was also a enthusiastic motor racer, who raced on many tracks in his Mini Minor and was also one time president of the Up-Country Motor Sports Club...

When talking of the Bradby, one remembers the unique record of Maurice Perera and his family. Maurice Perera played as a ‘prop’ forward forTrinity in 1953. His son Devapriya Perera played for Trinity and his grandsons Danesh and Naresh played and they became the first set of twins to play for Trinity College. Perera’s will be best remembered for the record which stands unparalled is both father Maurice and son Devapriya coached Trinity College .The third generation ruggerite was his grandson Sean Wanigasekera jnr who played and captained Trinity College in2007 and was awarded his Rugby Lion .Maurice Perera was a living legend during his time and served rugby in many capacities.

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