Lionel Almeida who died on Monday was a ruggerite par excellence who thrilled fans with his deeds on the rugby field during his illustrious career which spanned 17 years.
Having begun his rugby career as a scrum half at Royal he turned out for his school for three years playing in the pivotal fly half position in his final year in which he captained his school.
Joining CR and FC in 1957 he blossomed out as an excellent fly half and went onto don the Sri Lanka Jersey in 1959 and played for the country with distinction till 1967. Joining the Dickoya Maskeliya Cricket Club in the early ’60s he played a major role as full back in taking Dickoya to the forefront of ’A’ Division rugby during which period the club went onto beat reputed teams such as CR and FC, Havelocks, CH and FC and Army. Among his teammates at Dickoya were Raji de Sylva, Manik Jayakumar, Manik Pereira, Tony Johnson, Rohan Abeysundera, Mohan Samarasinghe and the dreaded third row of Chris Bean, John Bousfield and David Bretherton.