The Philippine Rugby Football Union have selected the Philippine Volcanoes Men’s Sevens team that will debut at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Tournament this coming March.
The 12 squad members are:
In compliance with the International Rugby Board regulations, the 100% Filipino-heritage squad consists of players who were either born in the Philippines, or have at least one parent or grandparent that was born in the Philippines.
All players were selected by the PRFU National Teams Committee and are the top 12 players who are currently available and playing Rugby 7s at elite levels. Eight of the players namely, Mark Chatting, Justin Coveney, Chris Hitch, Jake Letts, brothers Joseph & Luke Matthews and Matt & Oliver Saunders were part of the team that won a Silver Medal at last year’s Borneo Sevens Tournament.
“It was a difficult task to choose the final twelve, in view of all the quality players that put their hand up for the competition.” Said National Coaches Matt Cullen & Expo Mejia. “We also had to consider their fitness levels, existing injuries and other factors that may impact their performance. Whether they were selected or not, we are proud of all our players, past and present, because they all had a role in getting us to where we are today. They will be in our hearts and minds when we step onto the pitch in Hong Kong.”
The Philippine Volcanoes will train together in Manila on third week of March and depart for Hong Kong on March 20. The Philippines is in Pool E with Canada, Spain and Zimbabwe.
Organized by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and co-title sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways and HSBC, the Hong Kong Sevens 2012 will take place March 23 - 25. Around 120,000 spectators from all over the world are expected to watch the tournament, which will be held at the iconic 40,000-seater Hong Kong stadium.
For more information on the Hong Kong Sevens, visit: www.hksevens.com
New Tournament Format Promises Spectacular Sevens in 2012
The Official Draw for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012 was held on February 16 at Exchange Square in Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) unveiled an exciting new format for the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens, with Hong Kong being awarded a unique status as the venue for the world’s first HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier.
As such, this year’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will host two unique competitions side by side. The HSBC Sevens World Series (HSBC SWS) event will feature the 12 core teams currently competing on the Series.
A separate HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier will also comprise 12 teams, including Regional champions from all six Rugby regions recognized by the IRB. In the HSBC SWS Qualifier, Hong Kong, together with 11 other teams will be playing for the right to become a core team. The three countries finishing in the top three positions from the Qualification tournament will be granted automatic core team status on the HSBC Sevens World Series 2012/2013, joining the 12 existing core teams on this year’s Series.
After the conclusion of tonight’s draw, both competitions are shaping up to be extremely exciting.
On the HSBC Sevens World Series front, this year’s Series is again a testament to the fast-rising parity in international sevens with four teams winning the five tournaments played to date. New Zealand, the defending Hong Kong Sevens champions, is the only team to have won twice on the Series after their victories in Port Elizabeth and Wellington.
As the Series heads into Hong Kong just 18 points separate the top four teams on the Series table: New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and England; while 5th placed Samoa recently won its first event of the season with a thrilling victory last weekend in Las Vegas.
Currently, New Zealand tops the HSBC SWS table on 92 points with Fiji just five points adrift on 87. South Africa is in third place with 76 points followed by England with 74. After winning in Las Vegas, Samoa is in fifth place with 69 points.
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens remains the largest tournament on the Series with 24 teams as opposed to the 16 teams participating at other HSBC SWS events.
Officiating tonight’s draw were: Stephen Lam, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government; T Brian Stevenson, SBS, JP, President of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU); Ivan Chu, Chief Operating Officer of co-title sponsor Cathay Pacific Airways; Guy Harvey-Samuel, Group General Manager, Head of International of co-title sponsor HSBC; HKRFU Chairman Trevor Gregory and Hong Kong Sevens Tournament Operations Director Rod Mason.
For tonight’s draw the 12 core teams in the HSBC SWS competition were grouped into Pools A, B and C. The Cup Winner, Runner-Up and Third Place finisher from Las Vegas, Samoa, New Zealand and Fiji, respectively, were seeded into the first band of Pool A, B and C. The remaining 9 teams were grouped into 3 groups of 3 based upon the HSBC SWS standings following Las Vegas and drawn into the 2nd, 3rd and 4th bands of Pools A, B and C.
Following the draw for the HSBC SWS competition, Pool A comprises Samoa, England, Argentina and Kenya. Pool B features Series leaders New Zealand, South Africa, Wales and the United States. Pool C features Fiji, Australia, France and Scotland.
For the 12-team HSBC SWS qualifier competition the teams were drawn into Pools D, E and F, each comprising four teams. The 12 teams were first grouped into 4 groups of 3 based on their performances at the HSBC SWS and other IRB Sevens events over the past two years and drawn into each band of Pools D, E and F.
Following the draw for the HSBC SWS Qualifier, Pool D features Tonga, Uruguay, the hosts Hong Kong and China. Pool E comprises Canada, Spain, Zimbabwe and debut team the Philippines. Pool F includes Portugal, Russia, Japan and the tournament’s second debutant in 2012 Guyana.
All team groupings have been ratified by the IRB and Core Teams and Qualifier Teams will not play against each other. All Core Teams participating in the Cup, Plate and Bowl shall receive HSBC SWS ranking points for the tournament. The top four placed teams from the Qualification tournament will receive ranking points in respect of their final placing in the HSBC SWS Shield.
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be played from March 23 to 25, 2012 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium. For more information please visit the official website at http://www.hksevens.com.
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Round 2 of the PRFU Bostik 10s League was completed on Saturday, February 11, 2012. The day emphasised some key elements of the growth of rugby in the Philippines, given that there was competition in Cebu where Nomads played two games against the Cebu Dragons. Whilst this did not form part of the official Bostik 10s league, it is a sign of the increasing regional aspect of our sport.
On a beautiful day at Nomads, there was a feast of rugby as the now well-established CBRE junior rugby, held monthly, took place in the morning with seven clubs fielding fifteen teams, playing 18 games of touch. There were some notable initiatives with the participation for the first time of the Bulacan Rugby Club in three age groups, showing that the PRFU is starting to spread the rugby word, which we can now support with the provision of coaches and development officers, even outside Metro Manila. There were also four games of junior tackle rugby and our first ever U12 tackle match. In all, more than 100 kids enjoyed the morning. This reflects the desire of our younger rugby players to step up and play full contact.
In the afternoon, in the Plate Division of the Bostik 10s, whilst there was just one game, we were treated to a great match. The scores were tied at 10-10, with just a few minutes to go, but the Alabang Ibons steadied and took out the game 22 – 10. Young Jake Batuhan’s rugby is going from strength to strength and he came away with a hat-trick of tries to take the Hardys man-of-the-match award. The Hapons played with great spirit, and came very close to recording their first win in the league.
There were two games in the Bowl Division, with the two winners from last week, Globe Immortals against the Vipers (who are growing their relationship with one of our new junior clubs, the Makati Mavericks). It was a very physical match, with Marcus Skeen and Jason Loch providing their experience and aggression to each side and helping out our developing Pinoy players. The Vipers came away with the win, 15-7, three tries to one. The Tarsiers and Bisons played in the second match and the Bisons recorded their first victory, running out 20-0 victors.
Man-of-the-match in the Bowl Division was Zaldy Baylen.
The ladies played two matches, which were, unfortunately, lopsided as the Ultra Team GL boasted a number of international players and they showed their experience and won both games comfortably (32-0 and 42-0). To their credit their Nomads Bullettes never gave up. Manila Santos was at her bruising and busting best in the first match and Rozie Morala was unstoppable in the second and the shared the player of the match award.
The updated table is attached. Next week promises to be a great show of rugby with the Cebu Dragons visiting Nomads to commence their participation in the competition, with a full range of matches in the other divisions. A big thank you to Nomads for hosting the competition and we also offer our gratitude to the match officials who give up their time to keep rugby growing in the Philippines.
Off the pitch the PRFU is extremely pleased to announce the renewal of two important sponsorships, firstly Leighton, who have increased their contribution (to become bronze sponsors of the PRFU) in renewing their relationship with the Tuloy Foundation and Hardys (Future Trade) who are also renewing their bronze sponsorship with us.
Day 1 of the Thailand Sevens at the Bunyajinda Stadium, Royal Thai Police Sports Club, Bangkok started for the Philippines with a hard fought win over the UAE 24 - 17 with the UAE coming home in a strong fashion in the second half. Andrew Wolff crossed the line for the for the first 5-pointer in the opening minute, while new boy Nigel Maher converted scoring his first goal in his debut game for the Volcanoes. Ever-reliable David Carman ran onto an outwide pass and sprinted in for the Volcanoes' second try. One minute later, Chris busted the defence line and scored.
In the second half, the boys tired and UAE attempted a comeback with 3 quick tries. David Carman again crossed for his second match try under the posts, giving Nigel Maher an easy conversion. The final score saw a victory to the Pinoy boys 24 -17 and Coach Matt's Man of the Match award went to Nigel Maher for a great performance in his first cap for the Philippines.
The Team started to gel in the second match, playing a more structured game against Laos. The Volcanoes stretched Laos' defence from the left and right hand side of the field. Team Captain, Chris Everingham opened up score with a bustling run to the line taking out the last line of defence. Nigel Maher found has way in the middle of the field and was hard to detain with the ball in his hand. Aaron Briddon assisted the continuousl attack phases which saw Nigel cross for 2 quick tries. Laos came back with a backline move that saw Vice Captain, Noel Flowers pull off a huge hit on his opponent. Not to be outdone, Chris Hettel made the hit of the day, if not the hit of the tournament, that made the grandstand spectators applaud. Andrew Wolf crossed late in the game taking the final score to 24 -5. Chris Hettel was names Man of the Match.
The final game of the day saw the Philippines explode against the more favoured Japan team and it was 0 - 0 until Japan scored a length of the field try against the run of play to open the game up and ran in two easy tries before halftime. Philippines debutants Jay Coronel and Paulo Jordan played in the second half and the Philippines eventually lost to Japan by 43 - 7, with Man of the Match Andrew Wolff scored the Philippines only try.
The Philippines ended the day with 2 wins and 1 loss, finishing second in their pool and placing them in a Quarter Final game against home favourites Thailand tomorrow afternoon.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union in conjunction with BOSTIK kicked of 2012 year with the Bostik 10s league at Nomads Sports Club last Saturday, January 28th.
Tournament organiser, Matt Cullen commented that "It is amazing to think that just three years ago the PRFU only had four teams competing in the annual 10s league and now we see 11 teams competing in three divisions in an 8-week tournament."
Cup - Alabang Eagles, Cebu Dragons, Nomads
Plate - Alabang Ibons, Carabaos, MAAP Warriors, Manila Hapons
Bowl - Bison, Globe Immortals, Tarsiers, Vipers
Women's - Team GL, Team Nomads, Cebu Pink Dragons
Each of the four divisions reflects the level of competition and participation that has developed amongst the PRFU teams in the last two years of compeition. Most of the Cup players have represented the Philippines in either the Volcanoes or National Development Teams, the Plate Level being players who have played for the last 3 - 5 years and have a good experience of the game of Rugby Union, the Bowl level being made of of the four new Filipino teams from Rugby 101 that are now playing in their second PRFU league and showing signs that they to will produce players worthy of representing the Philippines in the sport of Rugby Union. The Women's division is also made of of a combination of National Team and Rugby 101 players and the PRFU are confident that the Women's league teams will continue to grow and develop in 2012
This year sees the first PRFU regional Rugby Union Tournament with the Cebu Dragons also participating in the Cup Division of the league for the first time. Cebu will travel to play in Manila on February 18th and then return to participate in the World Famous Manila 10s on the weekend of March 17/18th. Round one of the league pitted last years finalists and cross town rivals, the Alabang Eagles against the Nomads. This game was always going to be a fierce battle with both teams boasting a number of current and ex National Team players. Last year the Nomads were victorious over their younger opponents in both the PRFU 10s and 15s leagues and under new coach Phil "Stinger" Gittus, the Nomads were always going to play a traditional aggressive style of Rugby. The Alabang Eagles have also appointed a new coaching staff in 2012, with Dan Moutin and David Carman taking on the new roles and offering the younger Eagles a new focus and direction that has been lacking for the past couple of seasons.
The Cup game started at a blistering pace with both teams throwing everything into what would be the first of many games played between the two teams in 2012. The winner of this game would take an advantage into the finals and Manila 10s rugby tournament in March. The Eagles showed some very good composure and capitalized on two Nomads errors to score the first two tries. The Eagles were playing a dynamic game and ran at pace and were not afraid to use the ball wide to attack at the Nomads all over the field. The Nomads tried to use the basic style of attacking through the middle of the ruck but time and again the Eagles stood firm and turned over the Nomads attacking raids with some effective defence. Two of the current Philippine National Team players David Carman and Kit Guerra showed their youth, skill and passion and constantly put the Eagles in attacking positions with accurate passes and good support play and both led from the front and scored a try each in the first half of the match. The midfield combination of Tim Bheheni and Andrew Wolf were also in dominant form and constantly made ground to to place the Eagles on the front foot. The Eagles enjoyed the return of a former Fijian player Veve who was happy to move into the forwards and he certainly helped to lead the younger Eagles players to take on the bigger Nomads forward pack.
It was not until the second half that the Nomads started to control possession especially at the ruck/maul area and they started to roll the ball up the field, this did result in two second half tries and allowed the Nomads to regain some composure after the first half blitz by the younger Eagles. Coach Phil Gittus was not happy with the Nomads ball retention stating that "When we actually played to our gameplan of strong rucking and mauling through our forwards and actually held onto the ball, we looked like we could wear the Eagle pack down, unfortunately we dropeed to much ball". The Eagles ran away with the first win of the season by 38 - 12 and the Nomads will have to regrup over the next month to challenge the youthful team in the BOSTIK 10s finals on March 3rd.
The Plate games were dominated by the Nomad Carabaos who convincingly beat both the Manila Hapons (39 - 0) and Alabang Ibons (15 - 0) in the same afternoon. The MAAP Warriors were not available for the first round of the Bostik 10s league and will play in the remaining rounds on Feb 11th, 18th and the Finals on March 3rd. It was the elderly statesmen of the Carabaos who proved that age does come before beauty as they gave their younger opponents a lesson in how to play controlled aggressive Rugby.
The Carabaos were led from the front by ex National team front row player Paul Ingram who scored twice in the first half against the Hapons. The Carabaos proved to be to strong all over the field and Nomads shone with several strong runs upfield to set up many of the Carabaos attacking raids.
The Alabang Ibons beat the Hapons by 24 - 5 and the U20s National team combination of brothers Jovic and Jaypee Paypon were far to elusive for their opponents and continually made incisive runs that led to the Ibons scoring some great attacking tries.
In the Bowl Division the Globe Immortals turned up at Nomads at 2pm and started their extensive warm up routine, led by National team player Andrew Wolff. The Globe players were certainly well prepared for the first game of the BOSTIK 10s season and took no time in scoring against the Bison. Globe player Angelo Mayo was voted the Bowl player of the day which was quite amazing as he has only been playing rugby for three months and caught the eye of the National team Coach Matt Cullen, who commented on his skill and speed as he scored the opening two tries for Globe.
The second game of the Plate division proved to be the toughest battle of the day with the Vipers narrowly beating the Tarsiers by 5 - 0. The Tarsiers scored an early try and this was to then become an epic arm wrestle with neither team allowing their opponents any leverage, the score remained 5 - 0 until the fulltime whistle.
The 2nd round of the Bostik 10s is on February 11 at Nomad Sports Club.
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