By Harsha Amarasinghe
Already mired in humiliation and controversies, Sri Lanka Rugby was rocked on Friday by a fresh scandal in relation to country’s Under-19 side which embarrassingly lost all three games of the Under-19 Asia Rugby Championship in Chinese Taipei last week.
The details emerged on Friday over hotel room misbehavior by Sri Lanka Under-19 captain Gemunu Chethiya hours before their final game against South Korea.
According to a leaked e-mail the former St. Joseph’s College starlet has ‘misbehaved with a member of Taipei Fullerton Hotel in the 11th floor on December 16.’
Chethiya’s conduct has prompted the team management to suspend him immediately, and hence the centre who joined CR and FC following a successful inter-school campaign for St. Joseph’s College, was not able to take part in the final game.
Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) have been alerted of the incident by Asia Rugby who have urged the country’s parent body take ‘appropriate actions’ against Chethiya.
“Please also accept Asia Rugby's sincere apologies on behalf of one of our participating unions, Sri Lanka Rugby, for the inappropriate conduct that one of their players has displayed. We find this conduct disturbing and we have conveyed our concerns to SLR management and will be working closely with SLR to ensure that the appropriate action is taken.” Aaron Stockdale - Asia Rugby Competition Manager has stated in an e-mail sent to the Chinese Taipei Rugby Union.
Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) is set to conduct an inquiry over the incident before December 25. SLSRFA President - Ranjith Chandrasekara has also suggested that Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) should also carry-out an inquiry as Chethiya has already left his school; St. Joseph’s College.
This incident itself shows the state of Sri Lanka’s rugby at the moment as modern players do not appear to value wearing that national jersey anymore. Chethiya in fact was the captain of this side and he was also one of the two vice captains for St. Joseph’s College as well. If his behavior is as bad as this, then there is nothing to talk about the team he was leading, and the shocking results in Chinese Taipei do not appear to surprise anybody right now. The player has embarrassed himself, his teammates, his country, and he has let down the selectors, fans and everyone else who believed in him.