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Old 09-04-17, 12:48 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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I then decided on a course of action that my Royal friends would only now know. I decided that we concede uncontested possession to Seyyed and thereafter put him under tremendous pressure and neutralize his usefulness. The team worked on psychology and made it conveyed to him that the Thomians would isolate him for special treatment. With this in view, Stefan D' Silva, who stood at No. 1 in the line-out, shifted to No. 3, just behind Seyyed at No. 2 and instructed him that if Seyyed moved to No. 4, Stefan should move to No. 5. The art of securing ball from the line-out jumper and mauling was not known at that time and it was straight-forward wedge binding, after the ball was caught. The moment Seyyed collected the ball, with of course, his feet on the ground, he became the unfortunate legitimate victim of a severe pounding from Stefan, from behind. Stefan was a hefty 206 pounds of pure muscle. Stefan followed him to No. 4 and I was told that on one Thomian throw-in after Seyyed had been softened, Stefan ordered the Thomian thrower to throw the ball to Seyyed, to which Seyyed reacted and cried in painful anguish, not to throw the ball to him.

The psychological pressure on Seyyed was imposed on him even before the game and that was when he went to the urinals before the match. Stefan stood behind him, insisting that he use the same urinal as Seyyed, even though, it was pointed out to Stefan that there were other urinals, unused at that time.

The game was played at a furious pace and during the early part of the first half, off a scrum in the Thomian half, the Thomian scrum half sent a wayward pass to an out-of-position stand-off, when Michael Jayasekera moved to centre for D.K. Supramaniam, who played on the right wing, to act as stand-off. One of the Royal flankers pounced on the loose ball to pickup and score under the posts. It was converted and Royal led 6-0.

They held on to this score well into the second half, even though S.T.C. attacked relentlessly. Late in the second half, Royal won a scrum on their 25 yards (now 22m). They initiated an attack in which Skanda Fernando, brother of Jagath, made a feeble chip over the fast approaching defence which Thomian centre, Wilhelm Bogstra held with much glee and scampered untouched to score between the posts. D.K. Supramaniam converted to tie the game, 6-6.

Except for the Royal game, S.T.C. won all the other games that season, beating Nalanda 82-6, Isipathana 36-0, Vidyartha 62-0, Ananda 52-0, St. Anthony's 19-4, Trinity 4-0, St. Peter's 14-3 and Thurstan 10-0.

Stefan D' Silva is presently in Sydney and is a Prison Warden in one of the biggest jails in Australia. He periodically returns to Sri Lanka and helps S.T.C. in coaching.

The Right Paper
Daily Mirror on the Web
Wednesday, January.05, 2005
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