Hong Kong - Four years ago the unimaginable happened, the Philippine Volcanoes were playing in a Rugby World Cup. It was the first time in 50 plus years a Philippine national team had progressed through the qualifier rounds to earn their right on the biggest stage. This was in 2013, the challenge now, can the Volcanoes repeat these efforts and qualify for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup?
According to the qualification rules, only two teams from Asia will earn a position in the prestigious event. The World Cup is held every four years, (although it would have been five years since the last event) due to the fact Rugby 7s has now been re included as an Olympic sport. The international federation, known as World Rugby, chose to cater to the Olympic calendar years. This decision allows both the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics to act as world championship events, held evenly, every two years.
The 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup will be held in San Francisco, USA, from July 20 - 22. The Volcanoes, recently backed by Globe Telecom start their journey this Friday and Saturday in Hong Kong for the first round of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series at Kings Park.
The Volcanoes have a new look team, a mix of Filipino youth, Philippine resident players and most evidently, experienced campaigners.
"I think we will surprise a lot of countries. We have a lot of new and exciting players that will only get better with experience. We definitely have the talent to be serious competitors in this year's Asian series" shared Sean Celada Lynch, the only remaining member in this team from the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup team. Lynch's family hails from Borongan City, Eastern Samar. His team mate Danny Bembo Matthews has been named Captain. Matthews has family ties from Alaminos, Pangasinan. Matthews lead the team in Qatar last February where he was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, guiding the Volcanoes to a Gold medal performance.
"We expect a high level of rugby this weekend. In February it was great to see our combinations come together. Teams will be strong here in Hong Kong. To qualify for the World Cup we have to beat the best in Asia so we can compete against the Worlds best. We are up to the challenge" shared Bembo Matthews.
The Volcanoes are seeded in Pool A against home town favorites Hong Kong, China and Malaysia. After day one, the teams will be re-seeded based on results. The second day consists of a cross over to play Pool B participants Japan, Korea, Taipei and Sri Lanka in the playoff finals. Japan finished 4th in the Olympic Games and are tipped to be hot favorites in Hong Kong.
The Asia Sevens Series will be held across three legs, with Round 2 in Korea on September 23/24 and Round 3 in Sri Lanka on October 14/15. The team will be coached by former New Zealand All Black Frano Botica.
Venue: Kings Park, Hong Kong
14.36 Philippines vs. China
16.44 vs Philippines vs. Hong Kong
19.36 vs Philippines vs. Malaysia
2017 Asia Rugby Sevens Series Team List:
Another impact selection for the Men's is young Jonel Madrona, who starred in the Volcanoes tour in April. Madrona, a Clark Jet representative will playing in his first ever SEA Games.
Team Philippines will depart to the games on Thursday 17th, before taking the field at MBPJ Stadium, Kelana Jaya on Saturday & Sunday:
BACOLOD, PHILIPPINES: ChildFund Pass It Back, an innovative sport for development program managed by ChildFund and partnering in the Philippines with the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU), is hosting the PRFU ChildFund Pass It Back Cup on August 5, 2017. The competition will consist of 25 teams of more than 250 participants from the cities of Bacolod, Bago, and Talisay.
The competition is the culminating event of the first season of a program that was launched for the first time in the Philippines in February 2017. Twenty young adults, with no rugby or life skills coaching experience, were trained to become PRFU coaches and deliver an integrated rugby and life skills curriculum that promotes young people’s health and wellbeing, and provides important leadership and life skills learning opportunities.
ChildFund Pass It Back is a part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 IMPACT Beyond program, which aims to grow the game across Asia in the lead up to the first Rugby World Cup to be held in the region. The program in the Philippines is supported by the Australian Government through its Asia Sports Partnerships (ASP) initiative.
“The coaches and children are really excited about the PRFU ChildFund Pass It Back Cup,” said PRFU Development Officer Anne Sajorne. “They are excited to wear jerseys designed by the teams and to have a great day of fun together. We are also really excited to welcome a delegation from the Japan Rugby Football Union, which includes top level athletes, to inspire our players to stay with the sport!”
“PRFU are really pleased with the progress of this program and the feedback from the players and coaches,” said PRFU Secretary General Ada Milby. “The ability to demonstrate that a program can successfully meet a 50% minimum participation target with girls is also a very big win for our union and for women in sports. This is in part due to ChildFund Pass It
Back's safeguarding practices. ChildFund's expertise in this area was recently recognised by the Beyond Sport Awards, where it won the UNICEF Safeguarding Children in Sport Award."
ChildFund Japan Philippine Office Country Director, Rina Munsayac, said: “This partnership has been a learning experience for all stakeholders involved and we are looking forward to see all the hard work come together in such a special event.”
About ChildFund Pass It Back
ChildFund Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win. The program aims to equip children and young people in Asia to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and
‘pass it back’ to their communities. Using Get Into Rugby, a World Rugby program to grow the Game globally, the program gets children and youth to Try, Play and Stay in the Game. It is a part of the IMPACT Beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 program, which will increase awareness and sustainable growth of rugby in Asia. ChildFund Pass It Back delivers an integrated rugby and life skills curriculum in a safe environment that promotes the values of the Game and builds a new generation of leaders in disadvantaged communities across Asia.
ChildFund is a global alliance of child-focused development organisations working in 63 countries to reduce child poverty and promote children’s rights. The ChildFund Pass It Back Partnership is led by ChildFund Australia, working closely with ChildFund Japan and other ChildFund Alliance members, to expand the Program’s impact across the region. ChildFund Japan leads the ChildFund Pass It Back program in the Philippines for ChildFund, with the support of ChildFund Australia.
to ensure the team is best prepared come Saturday. Looking ahead, we want to build this program each year and it starts with a solid foundation this weekend. It’s an important tournament for the Volcanoes and the PRFU. The players have a lot to play for, not only the country, but also selection into the Men’s senior program later in the year” Letts shared.
Joshua Aragon also returns for the Junior Volcanoes, only this time he will compete in a slightly more familiar territory. The Clark Jets representative graduated from the U18 youth program and has had a remarkable rise since. Aragon has already earned his first cap with the senior Men’s team after a standout performance in the SEA 7s last April where the senior Volcanoes finished with a bronze medal. Aragon has since been named in the men’s SEA Games training squad. All before his debut for the U20s.
“I have learnt a lot of extra techniques to step up my game. Having a taste of how high the level of men’s senior rugby is, I think the experience will help me this weekend in Hong Kong” Aragon shared.
The Junior Volcanoes will face Malaysia first in their pool matches, followed by Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei and finally China. All on the opening day. Saturday will see the teams seeded into a playoff format against Pool B.
Day 1: Friday August 4th
10.58: Philippines vs Malaysia
13.10: Philippines vs Sri Lanka
15.44: Philippines vs Chinese Taipei
18.18: Philippines China
Day 2: Finals day (TBC)
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