CR&FC’s Rugby Manager Rohan Chintaka sees the importance of helping players found guilty of breaching sport’s code of conduct to make a comeback.
Chintaka told ‘Sunday Island’ that CR&FC had offered a playing contract to disgraced former Kandy SC winger Chamara Vithanage for the 2009 rugby season.
Vithanage returns to rugby this year after serving a two-year ban for assaulting a referee at an inter-school rugby fixture in Kandy.
"We have no issues with Vithanage’s past conduct as a player. He had an issue assaulting a referee. Assault incidents are part of rugby today. He didn’t commit murder. We must not expel people, who have done wrong, from society. They must be helped," said Chinataka.
Speculation is rife that Vithanage had arrived at CR&FC after negotiations to strike a deal with his former club, Kandy SC, failed. Chintaka however rubbished these claims.
CR’s rugby manager added that Vithanage had been given a top level contract by the club.
"He is a very valuable player and CR wants to have him. The player too appreciates the club giving him a deal," he said.
However, according to Chintaka, Vithanage is at present nursing a shoulder injury that he sustained during the domestic rugby sevens played in Kandy.
"He is a professional player so players like him take rest to recover fully even if the injury is a minor one," he said.
Chintaka opined that CR&FC’s two defeats to Kandy SC in both sevens finals was due to the team lacking in experience.
"Small, small mistakes added up to a big one. In sevens rugby, there is no coming back after making mistakes," he said.
He added that the upcoming domestic inter-club league rugby season would be a different tournament all together.
"One can’t judge CR’s standard in 15-a-side by comparing how the players performed in sevens rugby. The club has many talented players and the team is coached by New Zealander John Carrington," he said.
CR&FC is led this season by former Thomian and national player Ashen Karthelis.