Volcanoes brace for SEAG title defense
Jake Letts, PRFU’s head of national teams, said the main focus will be on the rugby sevens competitions of the biennial meet in Malaysia, where the Volcanoes are determined to extend their reign and the Lady Volcanoes are dead set on improving their third place finish last time. Photo from www.spin.ph
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) has set a high goal for 2017 as it plots the title defense of the Phl Volcanoes in the Southeast Asian Games and targets a higher podium finish for the Lady Volcanoes.
Jake Letts, PRFU’s head of national teams, said the main focus will be on the rugby sevens competitions of the biennial meet in Malaysia, where the Volcanoes are determined to extend their reign and the Lady Volcanoes are dead set on improving their third place finish last time.
“2017 will be another big year for Philippine rugby. We’ll have the SEA Games. We want to ensure that we go back-to-back in the men’s division and we want the women’s team to get one better,” said Letts, also a Volcanoes stalwart.
Letts and the men’s side asserted their might in the 2015 edition in Singapore, sweeping their five assignments in the preliminaries then completing the job with a 24-7 disposal of Malaysia in the gold medal match.
For its part, the Phl women’s team split its four preliminary outings for a spot in the bronze medal match, where it eventually prevailed over Malaysia, 22-0.
The SEA Games campaign actually kicks off PRFU’s four-year program leading to the targeted shot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After the Malaysia meet, the Volcanoes eye a medal finish in the 2018 Asian Games, then they shift their focus to the 2019 SEAG that the Philippines will be hosting and ultimately, the bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympiad.
“The Philippines has qualified in the Rugby Sevens World Cup before in 2013 so it’s safe to say the Philippines is a growing force of rugby in Asia. But in order to get that No. 1, we have to beat teams like Japan. Japan placed fourth in the (Rio) Olympics and proved that Asian rugby is on the rise,” said Letts.
“Our plans are to qualify for the Olympics in 2020. I think there will be two teams from Asia (in the Tokyo Games). Have we finished in the Top 2 (in Asia) before? We have,” he also stated.
Story by Olmin Leyba
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