By Asanka Gammanpila
The controversial Rugby Referees Society will be coming face to face with reality after Army fired a hard-hitting letter of protest to the sport’s keepers the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) following their league match against Upcountry Lions on Saturday which was marred by substandard refereeing.
Upcountry Lions who are making their debut in inter-club rugby, is highly patronized by Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage and beat Army 23-20 in a close match at Nawalapitiya on Saturday.
Army have charged that referee D. Nimal deprived them of winning the match after he disallowed what they claim were two clear tries in the final ten minutes of play.
“Those were terrible mistakes made by the referee at a very crucial stage of the game that we had a clear chance of winning”, declared Army’s team manager Colonel Mohan Ratnayake
Although losing five of their matches by the closest of margins, Army are one of the most competitive teams in the current set up and possess enough fire-power to upstage any opponent.
Saturday’s match was shown live on TV and Army could be armed with plenty of evidence to accuse referee Nimal of professional negligence.
“The mistakes (by Nimal) were clearly shown live on CSN television network and the Union can easily verify them. We can’t lose a game like that”, said Colonel Ratnayake.
A result in their favour would have assured Army a ticket into the final round where the best four teams play for the prized trophy.
The soldiers will now have to beat another highly charged team Police in their next outing and hope that Upcountry Lions don’t win anymore matches that will endanger their chances of a passage.
Rugby refereeing hit a pathetic state during a recent inter-school match between Royal and Trinity with accusations of substandard blowing by members of an association that is ridden with politics of an unprecedented scale.