Former champs Isipathana out to regain ‘A’ Division League crown | Daily News

Former champs Isipathana out to regain ‘A’ Division League crown

Former champs Isipathana out to regain ‘A’ Division League crown
Former champs Isipathana out to regain ‘A’ Division League crown

Isipathana College will look to bounce back and regain the ‘A’ Division League title when the 2022 Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament kicks off on Thursday in Colombo.

The former champions will begin their campaign when they confront Science College, Mount Lavinia in their curtain raiser match at Havelock Park. In fact, this year Isipathana have been drawn in Division One Group Two together with St. Peter’s College, Wesley College, Vidyartha College, Dharmaraja College and Science College.

Isipathana’s biggest challenge in this group of course will be the clash against another heavyweight St. Peter’s, which is scheduled for July 17 at Havelock Park.

Their main task will be to finish among the top two in this group and qualify for the second round of the competition, which should turn out to be a gruelling battle for supremacy.

No doubt, they are certain to face some stiff opposition during the second round of the tournament where they will be up against some of their biggest rivals including the reigning ‘A’ Division League champions Royal, S. Thomas’ and Trinity.

Even then, Isipathana are in with a mission this season as they are determined to regain the league title after a lapse of six years having last emerged champions in 2016 under the leadership of dynamic centre three quarter Kushan Indunil.

On that occasion, Isipathana under the guidance of coach Nilfer Ibrahim, remained unbeaten throughout the league and they also went on to complete a grand double by claiming the Inter-Schools Milo Knock-Out Championship.

Isipathana defeated S. Thomas’ 28-24 in the deciding league tournament fixture at Longden Place and then went on to outplay Royal 47-12 in the Knock-Out Tournament final played at the Racecourse Grounds in Reid Avenue. This success also had a huge amount of significance as it was the 10th occasion that Isipathana had clinched the knock-out title and remarkably their 64th overall Under-20 title.

But since then, Isipathana have somewhat gone into a shell and have experienced some heavy defeats during the last three years. In fact, Isipathana dropped to the sixth place out of eight teams in the final points table when the ‘A’ Division League Tournament was last held in 2019.

They, of course, finished in second place in the first round of the competition with four wins and one defeat from their maximum of five outings. However, in the Cup Championship Isipathana simply succumbed under pressure and failed to register a single victory against some more superior teams in the tournament.

Isipathana of course have earned a reputation as the ‘Kings of Schools Rugby’ while making them one of the most feared rugby playing teams in the schools’ arena.

The Pathanians have been able to maintain their supremacy and reputation in schools’ rugby having accounted for more than 60 trophies and championships and more importantly producing some quality players to the Sri Lanka team.

This year Isipathana will be coached by former Vidyartha and Trinity College player, National Sevens and Kandy Sports Club Skipper Saliya Kumara and he will be supported by former Isipathanian Dhanushka Boteju as the Assistant Coach. 

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