Nihal Viper Gunaratne to coach St. Anthony’s


Former National, Kandy Sports Club and Antonian alumni Nihal Gunaratne will coach the St. Anthony’s College 1st XV for the upcoming 2016 season.

Gunaratne who is no stranger to the rugby arena in the country learnt his basics of the oval game sport at St. Anthony’s College and was a feared flanker in the schools arena. Moving to the hometown club, he played for Kandy Sports Club in the late seventies and the early eighties while carrying out a short stint as coach for the hill country club. Gunaratne later went on to represent the national side during his playing days and had been the unanimous choice for flanker.

Taking up professional coaching duties, Nihal Gunaratne is currently one of the few IRB level 3 qualified coaches in the country. Prior to taking up coaching duties at St. Anthnoy’s College this year, he headed the coaching division of St. Joseph’s College in the year 2012 and was also the Kandy Reds Combined Schools team coach for a stint of two years.

The era that Nihal Gunaratne played his game for the school outfit is still considered to be one of the glorious eras for the eagles and with a fresh squad intact for St. Anthony’s College, he would be aiming at taking St. Anthony’s to a greater stand when compared to the performances of the past four years.

The lads from Katugastota have hit a rough patch last four seasons having ended in the lower tier in the league table despite efforts taken by the administration to lift the standard of playing. St. Anthony’s took the liberty of bringing down former Royal coach Theo Sefarim as well but things didn’t seem to work out. Hope still is within the Antonian fraternity with the under 16-team winning the All Island Under 16 Rugby title at Bogambora Stadium and the under 18 team ending up in semi-finals in the All Island competition. These achievements have come through the efforts of Priyantha Gunarathne and he will officially take charge of the junior teams.