Saumya Silva (Capt)
Air Force SC Rugby Squad - 2005
Props- Saumya Silva
(Capt), Kosala Ranasinghe. Hooker- Sampath Wickremasinghe.,
Locks- Pradeep Wickremasinghe, Prasanna Soyza. ,Flankers- Pathum
Ediriweera, Suranga Arunashantha., N0 8- Tharaka Chandimal,
Scrum Half- Dhammika Medagedera., Fly Half- Sajith Bandara.,
Centres- Tuan Shabbir, Ruchika Chamika., Wingers- Rohan
Fernando, Mohan Thiroshana., Full Back- Krishan Gunerathne.
One of the country’s longest serving rugby clubs is Sri Lanka
Air Force SC.
Air Force SC who was among the top teams in
various domestic tournaments in the days gone by has come down
from their lofty perch in the past decade or so.
They were a real force to be reckoned with in
the 1970s and 1980s and also produced an array of quality
players for the national side in those eras.
But with the recommencing of the war in the
North-East in 1990, they had to opt out of the major SLRFU
Since then the Airmen have struggled to make
their presence felt when pitted against top sides like defending
champions Kandy SC, CR & FC and CH & FC to name a few.
When going through history books, it can be
traced that Air Force SC had their finest moment in the rugby
field in 1986 when they annexed the Clifford Cup under the
leadership of Lakshman Caldera.
Since that heady success, Airmen have continued
to answer the call of Sri Lanka rugby by producing a host of
well known rugby players like scrum half Tikiri Marambe, number
eight Nalin de Silva, flanker Harsha Fernando, lock Lofty Perera,
stand-off Tony Wimalasuriya, to mention a few in the 1980s.
Air Force SC took their bow in the inter-club
rugby tournament way back in 1972 and was able to make an impact
three years later ending runners-up in the ‘A’ Division League
under Shanthi Mendis.
They won 12 out of 16 games in the ‘A’ Division
League and had entered the final of the Clifford Cup before
losing to Army SC in a close game.
Two years later Airmen, led by scrum half Ronald
Rodrigo, had again finished runners-up of the league to
Havelocks SC, but the momentum gained in those formative years
culminated in the epic win over Police SC in the Clifford Cup
final of 1986.
In more recent times, one of the best players to
emerge from the Air Force team has been the present manager of
the national side, Squadron Leader Sanjaya Fernando.
In fact, it was under the
tutelage of Fernando that Air Force SC scored a
stunning 27-3 win over Navy SC in the first quarter of the
on-going Caltex League tournament at Ratmalana.
It was also under Sanjaya Fernando that the Air
Force SC began its rugby revival in 2003 when he led the then
Katunayake based club to seven wins out of 14 matches in the
Caltex League and became runners-up in the Plate Championship.
In 2004, Air Force SC won the Plate Trophy in
the club rugby Sevens and in the ensuing league tournament
marked by a dramatic win over Havelocks SC.
In the 2005 season, they started their campaign
by winning the Plate Trophy of the Under-24 rugby Sevens under
the astute coaching of Sanjaya Fernando, who is taking great
pains to mould them into a giant-killing outfit.
Air Force SC rugby squad is led this year by big
made tight head prop Saumya Silva, while the loose head prop
will be Kosala Ranasinghe.
P Samarahewa and Ruwan Senevirathne will be
among the two reserve props.
The first choice hooker will be Sampath
Wickremasinghe with Gemunu Indrachapa as his understudy.
Prolific try scorer Pradeep Kurukulasuriya and
Prasanna Soyza will be the two lock forwards while Lasantha
Bandara will be one of the reserves.
The third row will comprise Pathum Ediriweera
and Suranga Arunashantha with Tharaka Chandimal at number eight.
Experienced Dhammika Medagedera and Sajith
Bandara will be their halves combination with the latter known
for his unerring kicking and fine tactical play.
Ajith Herath will be one of the reserve half
back’s while Nalin Sirisena will act as a standby for the number
Tuan Shabbir and Ruchika Chamika will be the two
regular Air Force SC centres while Rohan Fernando and Mohan
Thiroshana will start as left and right wing respectively.
The last line of defence will be manned by
The team has been given the backing by Chairman
of Air Force SC rugby Air Vice Marshall Channa Gunerathne and
Secretary Group Captain Saranath Rambukwella.