In the year 1986, the Isipathana – Royal rugby fixture was elevated to a trophy match – the Major Milroy Fernando Memorial Trophy offered by Colonel Dudley Fernando in memory of his son who died in a landmine explosion in Omanthai earlier that same year.
Isipathana won the trophy in the inaugural year, edging out Royal 11 points to 9 while Royal won the trophy for the first time in 1988 with a convincing 24-9 scoreline. In the 28 trophy matches played so far, Isipathana lead the series with 15 wins to Royal’s 09. The 04 matches played in 1987, 2001, 2002 & 2013 ended in draws while the encounter did not take place in 1991, 1994, 1995 & 2007.
This year, the Royal Tuskers will come in as favourites as they are yet to be beaten in the Singer Schools Rugby League. Isipathana, on the other hand, come into the game with one loss and a draw under their belt. Pathana skipper, Manilka Rubeyru has been the standout player for the Greens thus far whilst Royal’s strength has been their ability to come together as a team.
However, this year will be a real test for the Pathanians as they have the tough task of defending the Maj. Milroy Fernando trophy. Royal last won it in 2015 and will undoubtedly pull out all their guns to make sure they have the last laugh this year.