By Harsha Amarasinghe
CH & FC have been left fuming over ‘unfair’ criticism on flanker Yoshitha Rajapaksa especially in social media, following a brawl that broke out at the end of their Dialog Inter-Club League Rugby Tournament match against Navy Sports Club at Welisara on Saturday (30).
The former Sri Lanka forward has been related to a photograph on which he appears to have his hands around Navy SC second row forward Lahiru Wishwajith, but a club spokesman revealed that the incident has largely been misinterpreted.
“People have misunderstood the situation. There was certainly a brawl between the players from both the teams which is not right. But sometimes in a very physical game like rugby, things like this could happen. However, the club is shocked over the unfair criticism on Yoshitha because he was hardly involved in this. There was no fight between him and Lahiru,” said the spokesman.
In fact Lahiru Wishwajith himself cooled the situation claiming “these things are normal in rugby.”
“On December 30, I took part in the Navy SC versus CH & FC rugby match, and I'm personally happy about Navy SC winning the match. After the game there were some little problems, but these things are normal in rugby match situations. But some people are trying to use this as a political point. Personally, I don't have any problems with any of my opponents. I personally don't appreciate people trying to involve me on political matters with regard to the situation. If I made a mistake after the match, I personally apologise on my behalf and I don’t like to involve myself in any political issues under any circumstances,” the Navy SC second row forward posted on social media.
Meanwhile, CH & FC have directly put the blame on Navy SC Skipper Danushka Perera (nicknamed ‘Gertha’) over the incident.
“Gertha ran in towards our bench and started shouting with indecent words. We kept our calmness for some time and told him to go away, but he did not stop, and it was only after that the players got involved in it,” said a source close to the CH & FC Team.
In fact, more than half of the current CH & FC players represented Navy SC last season, and it is revealed that CH & FC contacted most of them through Yoshitha Rajapaksa’s best friend once upon time - Danushka ‘Gertha’ Perera.
However, the source further claimed that Perera opted to remain at the club after ‘his salary demands were refused by the CH & FC.’
“Gertha and Yoshitha were great mates, and some of the players were introduced to CH & FC by Gertha. However, when negotiating his salary, he demanded a salary of Rs. 800,000 which is certainly too much for a player in his mid 30s. May be he is still upset over that,” claimed the source.
Meanwhile, Daily Mirror also learns that Perera decided against joining the Maitland Crescent Club due to the fact that he was unwilling to play alongside a certain back division player in the CH & FC camp over a personal issue.
Navy SC Head Coach Mothilal Jayathilake and Team Manager Menaka Suranga refused to comment when contacted by Daily Mirror.
Dhanushka Perera writes
In response to our article titled ‘CH shocked over Yoshitha criticism’ Mr. Dhanushka
Perera has sent the following letter in which he states as follows.
This is to bring to you notice that I was shocked and dismayed to see the way my
name has been dragged into and unnecessarily mentioned repeatedly regarding the incident that happened at the rugby match between CH & FC and Navy
SC on December 30, 2017.
I was not even present at the place of the altercation that happened between some of
the players from the CH & FC Rugby Team and a few Navy SC players as shown by
media reports regarding a video.
As soon as we won the match I was cheering our victory and at that moment the CH & FC
Rugby Manager from the bench started yelling and came towards me at the ground
yelling in disrespectful language.
It is understood that he could not come to terms with the defeat of his team but a
manager should not enter the ground and yell at an opposition player which is a
When he yelled at me all that I told him was that he cannot enter the ground and speak in
such a language and to go back to the bench, and I simply walked away.
This is what exactly happened and nothing more as I see that he has concocted another story to put the blame on the Navy SC players.
During a rugby match heated language between players is a normal thing. However,
this is not the place for rugby team managers to speak to players in the opposition side in
such an ungracious manner.
Regarding the article written by Harsha Amarasinghe in the Daily Mirror News Paper making accusation at me I would like to clarify the following:
Many Clubs gave me offers more than CH & FC, however, I was offered the Rugby
Captaincy at Navy SC and the Navy SC has always been like a home to me as they treat
their players as family, I made a personal decision to stay with the Navy SC Rugby
Loyalty cannot be bought by money and I have great respect towards the Navy SC.
This has nothing to do with financial benefits as mentioned by this reporter. As a
media personality shouldn’t it be the responsibility of a member of such a reputed
newspaper to first talk to both sides and write the truth instead of tarnishing
a person’s character. It is irresponsible to state such claim that has no backing or
Regarding the claims that I supported CH & FC by sending Navy SC Rugby Players has
no standing. Being a captain and having played for the team for many years, it is not
in my values and principles to do such things to a team that I am loyal to. If the CH
& FC Team won the match on that day, none of this false media reports would have emerged regarding me and my team. All of these false media accusations blaming me and the team are simply because we won the match against CH & FC.
Even with a new team, with few senior players we have managed to still play the game with great pride. Being a Captain it’s not about me, it’s about the people that are in my team and how I can help them to be successful. That’s all I have done this season with the talented players we have in our Navy family. I will not accept such claims and accusations made by the CH & FC blaming me regarding this incident. The video shows exactly what happen and I cannot take the blame for such incidents. I have great respect for all the rugby players
and we all are friends at the end of the day.
There are no personal grudges against anyone and it is sad to see that outsiders to the incident have ensured that it has fallen to this unhealthy level of sportsmanship between players.
Writer’s note: With all due respect to Dhanushka Perera's reply to the article
titled "CH shocked over Yoshitha criticism", I would like to stress that the story was
written based on the information received from a source close to the CH & FC.
As a professional sports journalist, I understand the responsibility in contacting both the parties when compiling a story of this nature which is why I contacted Navy SC Head Coach Mothilal Jayathilake (4.43 p.m.) and Team Manager Menaka Suranga (4.45 p.m.) on January 2 only to understand that they have no interests in commenting
on the incident.
Daily Mirror at no point would carry an article without proper information and I have conclusive material to prove that Perera introduced certain Navy SC players to CH & FC.
Daily Mirror could even disclose the names of these players, if and when required.
Meanwhile the exact figure of the amount that Dhanushka Perera demanded from CH
& FC was revealed by a team official of the club.
I would also like to clarify that there was no attempt to tarnish Dhanushka Perera's
name, but Daily Mirror believes as the leading newspaper in the country, we do
have a right to report an incident
Sports Editor’s note: The writer has relied on factual circumstances and official sources in compiling the article. In the premise afore stated we stand by the contents published in the article under reference.
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