Our Philippines Rugby community spans the entire globe and I would firstly like to take this opportunity to wish everyone, wherever you are, a very happy and successful 2011.
The outstanding achievements of all our national teams in 2010 certainly caught the attention of local and international press. You can read about them in Ruck and Maul with highlights including:
• Men’s A5N Div II Champions
• Men’s ARFU 7s Bowl Finalists (Shanghai & Borneo)
• Men’s U20 A5N Div II Champions
• Women’s International 15s debut with win
• Women’s 7s Div B Winners on debut (Guangzhou)
On the local front we have seen an expansion at both the junior and senior levels. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, sponsorships were also at an all time high. There has also been a concerted effort to increase the involvement of national Filipinos at the player, coach and Board level. We received glowing feedback from the International Rugby Board (IRB), the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) regarding our rugby programs.
The growth of Philippines Rugby in the international arena has not gone unnoticed. In fact, at the IRB General Congress in Dublin, the PRFU were put forward as the model nation of how to develop rugby. The bulk of the praise here of course goes to our General Manager, Matthew Cullen. With his relentless efforts, the PRFU are a well respected rugby nation being a full member of the IRB. Along with his small team of employees and helpers, the PRFU will no doubt continue its rise on the local and international stage.
Wallabies National Head Coach, Robbie Deans, is fond of saying, “rugby is a simple game; all you need are a few volunteers”. I guess what he’s trying to say is that, for our game to flourish what we need are people dedicated to the task at hand. From a playing perspective, we need players who are willing to give it everything they’ve got and from a management perspective we need people who will promote our game at all levels of society.
In 2011, apart from winning every single game possible, I would like us all to focus on just one thing; LET’S TALK MORE RUGBY!! Whether you are a national player or a volunteer helping with a junior team, we can all play our part in promoting this great game of ours.
How can we do this you ask? Well here are a few tips:
• If you know the rules, volunteer to coach
• If you are organised, start a local club
• If you are a player, bring new friends to training
• If you can’t play, volunteer to referee
• If you are a coach, learn more about the game
• If you are a fan, watch more and talk more rugby
• If you have the financial means, sponsor a team
• If you live overseas, find Filipino players in your area
My dream would be to see a fully developed school, university and club competition within a few years. We all have the chance to build a sustainable rugby future for the generations to come. What a great legacy that would be. Please give it some serious consideration and volunteer some of your precious time and efforts to the PRFU. “Rugby is a simple game; all you need are a few volunteers”.
The Volcanoes line up for the national anthem in the A5N Final vs. India (New Delhi, 2010)
Can I just add a few parting words to our men and women who will represent us at the national level. This year, the competition for places within the team and the quality of our opposition will rise dramatically. This will help raise our standards both on and off the field. Wayne Bennett (arguably the greatest Rugby League coach) always inspired his players to achieve their true potential within the team and in their life outside sport. So train like you’ve never trained before, look after your studies, work, family and friends like never before. Your off-field efforts will translate to on-field successes.
Team sport is a school of virtue. When played in the right spirit it will teach us many life-lessons. Rugby is no exception. Let’s all talk more rugby this year to everyone around us. Let’s challenge ourselves to be the best person we can possibly be both on and off the field. Best wishes to everyone for 2011.
Expo is the current head coach of the Philippines national rugby union team having been appointed in November, 2009. In his first year he guided the Volcanoes to the Asian Five Nations 2010 Division II title thereby earning promotion to Division I for 2011.