Airtel sponsored St. Peter’s ruggerites ready to tackle St. Josephs for the Fr. Basil Wiratunga Shie

Saturday, 7 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Traditional rivals St. Peter’s College will lock horns with St. Joseph’s College for the 49th Fr. Basil Wiratunga Shield on Saturday (7) at Havelock Sports Club. The Peterite outfit is sponsored by Bharti Airtel Lanka, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. While the Former Captain of St. Peter’s College in 1968 and the Founder President of St. Peter’s College Rugby Foundation (2007 -2009) Ronnie Gunaratne will be the Chief Guest, Bharti Airtel Lanka’s Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer Jaanaka Samarakone will be the Guest of Honour. The match on Saturday will kick off at 4.30 p.m. followed by an evening full of fun and entertainment as both schools celebrate their rivalry in style. The Joe- Pete rugby encounter commenced back in 1955, the same year rugby was introduced to the college down Darley Road under the very first Sri Lankan rector at St. Joseph’s College Rev. Fr. Peter Pillai. The inaugural encounter was won by the Peterites under Desmond Ephraims against Mahendra Dias’ Josephian outfit. Since 1955 the teams have met 56 times in this annual encounter with Peterites winning 39 games, losing 12 and featuring in five draws. This is the 49th encounter for the shield defended by the Peterites since 1999 where they last lost it. The Josephians are yet to defeat the Peterites in rugby since 1999 where they also recorded their biggest victory in the series, 27-3 under the captaincy of Lakshitha Gunaratne. The Peterites hold a clear advantage in this series with 37 wins and hold the record for the biggest victory in the series when they clinched the trophy in 2007 by a huge margin of 101-5 under the captaincy of Ranuka Jayasinghe. Last year the Peterites under Shan Weerakkody won against Jason Melder’s Josephians by 43-15 to retain the shield for 14th consecutive year. For the 2014 rugby season, the Peterites belonging to the Group A, Division 1 has thus far played six matches, winning four, losing one and drawing the other. The Peterite team can look forward to a positive season under the guidance of Senior Coach Collin Dinesh and Assistant Coaches Thusitha Peiris and Rajive Perera. Speaking about the Fr. Basil Wiratunga Shield, CEO and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel Lanka Suren Goonewardene said, “As a youthful and dynamic brand, Airtel Lanka has positioned itself in a dominant position as a leading supporter of sports in Sri Lanka. Rugby is a sport played passionately in both these schools and is tied up to their tradition. Therefore we are very pleased and privileged to be present as the sponsor for the St. Peter’s team when these two great schools challenge each other to carry home the Fr. Basil Wiratunga Shield which is one of the most coveted trophies in the school rugby scene.”