In the game of rugby flanker is the position where the player should have all-round attributes: speed, strength, fitness, tackling and handling skills. Flankers are always involved in the game, as they are the players most commonly involved in winning the ball in open play, especially the open side flanker. Pavithra Fernando was one of the players who occupied this position from school days upto National level putting up a belligerent performance.
Pavithra who is in early 40’s was born in Colombo and his father is Hemasiri Fernando who is a well-known figure in the sporting world especially in the field of Athletics, where he rendered yeoman service in
uplifting the standard of athletics in the country. His mother is Sheila a house wife. He grew up in Bambalapitiya and was admitted to Royal College, Colombo to continue his educational career, from 1986 to1999. Pavithra was very particular about his physical fitness and maintained a well figured body from his younger days. Due to this, he was a sports enthusiast and had a determination that one day he should represent the country at least in one sport. He ultimately launched his sporting career at the age of 13 years in 1993 in both cricket and rugby at school. He continued both these sports disciplines until the under-17 age group.
While maturing as a sportsman, Pavithra fell in love with the oval shaped ball game and became a sensation, the talk of the school’s rugby arena. He played as a flanker (Open and Blind side) with his school team and turned out to be a regular member of college first XV rugby team from 1996 to 1999, where he was awarded the College Rugby Colours for four consecutive years.
The other unique feature of his senior rugby career is that, he was only 16 years old at the time he donned the first XV jersey, where he transformed to a robust and an indefatigable player representing his “Alma Matar’. He was adjudged the ‘Most Outstanding Sportsman of Royal College’ in the year 1999.
He was associated with some of the great captains who led Royal 1996 (Rukman Gunathilake) 1997- (Abdulla Yousuf) 1998- (Shanaka Perera) and 1999 (Dinesh Rahim).
While he was playing for the school senior team, he was invited to play for CR and FC and didn’t hesitate to lock horns with them as most of his team and school mates played for them. His illustrious career with the Longden Place club commenced from 1999 and went on to surge ahead until the 2009 season occupying the same position of flanker. While mingling with them he had his National call in 1999 and competed in the same period which he dedicated to his club rugby.
During his tenure as player with the CR and the National team, he was instrumental in winning several competitions and annexing various trophies which were on offer.
He led the Sri Lanka National Rugby team at the Asian Division one Tournament in Dubai in 2009.
He also captained CR Rugby team in three consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2006. He also led his club to win the Clifford Cup Knockout Tournament after 17 years in 2006, beating Havelocks 37-5 in the final where he entered the list of players who were loyal and remained to one club without moving to other clubs.
He has some unblemished memories during his rugby career which includes beating Isipathana 14-10 and ending their 37 match unbeaten streak in 1998 in the school’s league championship.
The other was while playing for CR edging out the mighty Kandy team 24-23 at Nittawela in 2001, in a nerve tingling encounter. and beating Thailand by over 50 points in Dubai under his captaincy.
He played under several captains like Haris Omar, Pradeep Basnayake and Sajith Mallikarachchi at the three Rugby Asiads in 2002. 2004 and 2006 respectively. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Northwood University).
He is the Owner and the Managing director of JF Tours and Travels (Cey) Ltd. Inbound Tourism, Maritime Lanka Ltd – Recruitment, Rasa Bojun (Pvt) Ltd – Restaurant and Energy Link (Pvt) Ltd – Solar power systems