Delayed kick-offs and uncalled for stoppages ruining schools rugby
  Published : 12:38 am  May 5, 2017 | 3 comments | Print This Post  | 15 views

By Shehan Daniel

For all the on field quality in the ongoing Under-20 Schools Rugby Tournament, poor organisation and administration has left much to be desired for spectators and fans who patronise these venues, with delayed kick-offs and uncalled for stoppages, which has an adverse impact on the rhythm and flow of play.

In fact, last week’s match between Trinity College and St. Peter’s College was a case in point with the game finishing well after the scheduled time of conclusion with it ending in near darkness.

‘Daily Mirror’ spoke to World Rugby qualified accredited Match Commissioner Dilroy Fernando, one of the most recognizable faces in local rugby.

He said that it was not the only such incident this season that highlighted the want of organisation and administration, which he added was not only unfair to spectators, who are charged to watch matches, but also have an impact on the safety of players.

“Our Under-18 and Under-20 rugby is among the best in Asia yet are we among the best in organising matches? Sri Lanka has a strong following for schools rugby and from my experience is probably second only to Japan in the whole of Asia. But it is sad to see the standard being set by the Schools Association (Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association), match commissioners’ and schools themselves in ensuring that there is a quality product for spectators who pay and attend matches. Games don’t start on time because of school anthems, player introductions and the arrival of the chief guests which are of secondary importance, compared to the players and the game itself,” Fernando said.

“When games finish in darkness there is concern about player safety and welfare, and is also a compromise on the quality of the product spectators pay for. Referees and match officials need to work back from the time of kick-off to ensure that whatever precedes the game doesn’t delay the starting time, with enough time given for preparation for players and officials. It is also important to give the players two or three minutes to warm-up after the pre-match formalities as well.”

“Are the schools, match commissioners and organisers really concerned about player safety and welfare?” Fernando questioned.

Fernando, who conducted a training programme for match officials, also expressed his shock at the lack of understanding among match commissioners’ on what their roles are.

“There is also a lack of understanding among match commissioners. Being a qualified match commissioner I undertook to train match commissioners and shockingly they thought their roles were limited to just keeping track of scorers and other statistics during the course of the game. I have had to explain that they play an important role in ensuring that the match conditions are adequate and suitable, and that they are also responsible to make sure everything happens on time,” Fernando said.

“They also need to be active and engaged in the game.”

Fernando also said that the improper implementation of the Television Match Official (TMO) had made it virtually redundant and become part of the problem.

“Do we really need this TMO? Who does it benefit? There needs to be a proper protocol in what is referred to the TMO and sometimes it takes several minutes for the TMO to arrive at a decision and that too, inconclusively. Even those stoppages can lead to player injuries, since their bodies cool down during those delays,” Fernando said.

“There needs to be suitable infrastructure and protocol for the TMO to be implemented properly. World Rugby is doing everything they can to speed up the game, so delays like this don’t really help,” Fernando also said, driving home his strong argument.


3 Responses to “Delayed kick-offs and uncalled for stoppages ruining schools rugby”

  1. Rugby lover
    on May 5th, 2017 9:03 am

    Everyone knows the tournament is run by school teachers and that’s where all the problems do start. If he talks about problems on schools rugby this is just a mere problem. Problems are what does the association do with the money. Daily Mirror should investigate that without worrying about a personal agenda.

  2. Paul Williams
    on May 5th, 2017 9:57 am

    The match started at 4.30 pm and ended at 6.30 pm. This must be a record for the longest school boy match.

  3. Sunil
    on May 7th, 2017 8:05 am

    TMO’s just screw up games. At the Trinity-Peters match the try scored by Trinity and disallowed by the TMO when seen slow motion should have been given to Trinity.
    Better quality decision making by the TMO’s required

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