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 PROVINCIAL DEVELOPMENT
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STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT OF RUGBY

A master plan drawn up by the Rugby Union encompassing the whole gamut of disciplines where our rugby will reach by the year 2015. This document was accepted and adopted in our constitution. The bottom line is to participate in the World Cup at that point of time. Development started in an adhoc manner in the early nineties with very little or no money. The test runs were done with the Southern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. Dedicated people such Kumar Abaywardena and Arjun Dharmadasa spent much of their valuable time and out of pocket expenditure to keep this game alive.

It was sometime in the late ninties that the International Rugby Board stepped in to assist the less developed nations. We were indeed in lucks way. Provincial Unions were encouraged to be formed. To help them the SLRFU stepped up its program of assisting schools to play rugby. With the appointment of Development Officers and Technical Officers for the Provinces, around 50 to 125 schools per Province came into stream. Efficient provinces had more schools that augured well for them. A very good example is the Southern Province that boasts of their own internal tournament having as many as twenty-four teams. They also participated in the Caltex B league tournament conducted by the SLRFU.

The current committee now has drawn up modalities to have a minimum of 400 schools per province by the end of this year. The target is around 1200 schools per province at the end of the 3rd. year. If by the end of the three years we will have inculcated 8400 schools; all playing at the under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 18 & 20 will be no mean task – but can be achieved. We have the men who will execute the programs with the assistance of the Provincial Education Ministries. The Ministry of Education has also confirmed that Rugby will be included in the National Curriculum there-by making it a National Sport.

Are eyebrows being raised? Is this a fantasy and a dream of a commitment that may never see the light of day? Let us simplify this undertaking for the reader:

The program was kicked off in July. All provinces had to achieve a target of 100 schools where the Principals & Masters in Charge had to participate. Here they are given a briefing of the game and the rules to the game that they would have to teach. A very simple exercise in ball handling, passing and supporting the ball. For a tackle the opponent is tapped on the shoulder. No kicking is allowed. The ball is carried until a try is scored. This can be played barefoot and on any terrain as long as the goal lines are identifiable. The committee has emphasized that no injuries should happen or be caused to happen. This is important until they gain the experience as time goes by. All Development Officers have to plan the next stage of the program. Technical Officers have their field trips to schools to ensure that rugby is being played. Where necessary they will involve themselves in coaching the schools. The Development Officer will organize small tournament within the Division of each Zone in each District. Schools do not have to travel distances and may be even walk for their game. This is the first phase of the plan.

Having completed the first 400 schools, we embark on the 2nd four hundred the next year with the same operation. The first four hundred will now be prepared to learn the rudiments of “SEVENS”. The Development Officer will organize tournaments similar to what he did the previous year.

The first 400 schools having completed the “SEVENS”[2nd stage] will now be ready to take on the “Ten a Side” or “Twelve a Side” rules[3rd. stage] which is almost similar to a “Fifteen a Side” but with less heads in the pack. The second 400 and the third 400 will follow respectively.

During this program we will have organized Training the “Trainers and Referees”. These disciplines have to work in tandem with the game going forward.

Once these kids finish schooling, it is then that the Provincial Unions will have their hands full to promote clubs and internal tournaments. Visualise how strong each Province will be with their own Tournaments and Sponsers? The talent base they would be providing to the Union? The Union at the end will need only to concentrate on International matches and top Provincial Tournaments that will eventually be the hallmark of the Unions efficiency. Lastly it is needles to say that the co-operation of Provincial Unions can be useful to make this a success.


Y.C.CHANG.
CHAIRMAN
STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE SLRFU.



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