The Philippine Volcanoes stand sixth in the Asian Sevens Series rankings after finishing seventh at the Shanghai Sevens played on the weekend of September 22/23, 2012, having finished sixth in the Borneo Sevens played earlier in the month. It was a mixed performance with the Volcanoes finishing strongly on Sunday afternoon to demolish
Malaysia 38 - 12 and comfortably account for the United Arab Emirates
24 - 12.
However, costly losses to Chinese Taipei (12-14) and to an improved Thai team (12-24) on the Saturday meant that seventh was the best that could be achieved after China beat the Philippines 36-5 on Sunday morning and the Thais played a draw against Chinese Taipei.
Just one point ahead of Sri Lanka in the rankings, but well below five other teams, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Japan (who did not play in China but who will be awarded an average score based on the results in Kota Kinabalu and Mumbai), the Philippines is expected to take a middle ranking (from 5 to 8) to the Singapore event which will determine which of the three Asian teams will attend the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscaow in June 2013.
On Saturday, having already played a match, Chinese Taipei started strongly and lead 14 - 0. The slow start cost the Volcanoes dearly as they fought back to score two tries of their own, both to Andrew Wolff, but Luke Matthews' conversion attempt was wide and the referee somewhat surprisingly decided that there was no time left and the Philippine side were left to rue a costly loss against the second ranked side in its pool.
The match against the Thais was a case of compounding errors with Joe Matthews sin-binned for two minutes and a number of defensive lapses led to our most disappointing result so far this year. Joe Matthews and Mark Chatting scored tries.
The mood was sombre at the hotel on saturday night but there was a determination to put things right on Sunday. Although we were not expected to conquer the hosts, China, Coach Mejia called for execution of our plans in a more clinical manner. The score line of 36-5 to China did not reflect a better performance from the Volcanoes, with Joe Matthews scoring again from a Japanes kick-off.
This left the equation of beating Malaysia by more than 5 points to progress to the 7th/8th match (Malaysia having beaten Thailand on Saturday) and that margin was swamped as the result of a fantastic all-round performance by the boys, with the team effort amplified by the fact that we had six different try scorers.
In our final match UAE proved to be a very tough side, playing a tight, physical match, but they could not match our attacking flair and Harry Morris, with two tries, Andrew Wolff and Mark Chatting skating over, the Pinoys had something to celebrate and to take renewed confidence into the Mumbai Sevens which will be played on October 13/14, 2012.
Hong Kong was the dominant team in Shanghai and they beat China 40-10 in a one-sided final. Chinese Taipei's improvement was emphasised by the fact that they beatlast year's winners, Korea, 26-7 in the 3rd/4th match.
With only three positions available to Asian teams at the Hong Kong Sevens (it was four last year) it is now not possible for the Philippines to qualify, as it will be the top 3 ranked teams from the Asian Sevens Series who are invited. So it is all down to the Singapore Sevens for the Volcanoes to attempt to cause a few upsets there and take a Philippine team to a team World Cup in 2013.
Details of the Philippines scores and scorers:
Chinese Taipei 12 - 14
Tries:Andrew Wolff 2, Conversion:Luke Matthews
Thailand 12 - 24
Tries: Joe Matthews, Mark Chatting, Conversion: Luke Matthews
China 5 - 36
Try: Joe Matthews
Malaysia 38 -12
Tries: Ken Stern,Mark Chatting, Luke Matthews, Rob Jones, Andrew Wolff and Ryan Clarke
Conversions: Luke Matthews 3, Richard Goodwin 1
UAE 24 - 12
Tries: Harry Morris 2, Mark Chatting and Andrew Wolff,
Conversions: Luke Matthews 2.
Coach: Expo Mejia
Physio: Chistian Santos
The Philippine Rugby Football Union has announced the players selected for the Shanghai Sevens tournament, scheduled on September 22 and 23, 2012.
The Shanghai Sevens is the second leg in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series which includes the recently concluded Borneo Sevens with Mumbai and Singapore scheduled in October and November.
The series rankings after Mumbai will serve to decide the seedings for the fourth and final HSBC A7s event in 2012, the Singapore Sevens in November, which will also play host to the Rugby World Cup Sevens Asian qualifiers.
In the first game under new National Sevens coach, Al Caravelli, the Philippines, ranked 4 for this event, took on Singapore. Given that this was the coach's first assignment, and the squad contained just one player from the HK Sevens squad which performed in March, the whole approach was to execute all elements of the new game plan well. Coach Caravelli has decades of experience in Sevens rugby having played for and coached the American Eagles Sevens team, which is now a part of the 15 core teams qualified for the World Series of Sevens.
The Philippines emerged with a narrow win over Singapore 17 -14, with Andrew Wolff showing his experience and calm, going over with no time left on the clock.
Earlier, co-captain, Harry Morris, had opened the scoring for the Volcanoes showing good awareness after a ruck, to spot the lack of cover and he dotted down under the posts. the Volcanoes then were under pressure when Brian West was yellow-carded (two minutes off the pitch) for a dangerous tackle, which seemed to objective observers to be a harsh call. Kenny Stern found himself in space and with a two-on-one situation popped to Nigel Maher who scooted in to score, but he missed the conversion and that left the Volcanoes down 12 - 14. Despite the prospect of bowing out early from the Cup competition, the Philippines retained their composure and patience and aided by Singapore being reduced to six men late in the game, Wolff's heroics saw them through their first match.
In the afternoon, South Korea were out for revenge in the Volcanoes' second Pool A match, the Philippines having taken their spot at the Hong Kong Sevens. Although the final score looked unflattering at 0-29, the boys generally played well, with most of South Korea's tries coming from individual skill errors from the Pinoys. The Koreans are a much improved side from last year and looked to be in good shape to make the semi-finals of the Cup competition. Late in the game, co-captain Mark Chatting, the only representative to be at the Hong Kong Sevens, badly twisted his ankle, and took no further part in the tournament.
In the quarter final on Sunday morning, Japan (eventual winners of the tournament, having won also in 2011) were always going to be a tough proposition. Kit Guerra came in to replace Chatting.
The final score was 53-5, the only consolation coming after a strong ruck against bigger opponents led to Nigel Maher being in the clear. A perfectly timed pass to Kenny Stern in support saw him "away to the races" to give some confidence that they could mix it with the big boys. Next up would be the United Arab Emirtaes (UAE) in the plate competition.
This game represents an appetiser to the main event scheduled for next year in A5N fifteens rugby, when the Philippines will take on UAE at home on April 20, 2013. After conceding an early try the Volcanoes went on to score the next three tries via Harry Morris, Ken Stern and Andrew Wolff. With the game seeming to be comfortably in the bag the Philippine seemed to take their foot off the pedal allowing the UAE two late tries, but unlike the Singapore game there was no risk of the boys losing this one.
This meant the Volcanoes were in the Plate Final against Chinese Taipei who had played well in a tough Pool group, losing to Japan and narrowly losing to the Ben Gollings coached Sri Lankan team. Chinese Taipei started brightly and scored first however with good lead-up work Kit Guerra went over for his first score, which was not converted. Chinese Taipei scored again, buit at 14-5 the Philippines were dominating proceedings and looked ceratin to score when Nigel Maher went over in the corner but had just put a foot on touch. From the ensuing line-out Chinese Taipei went all the way to the other end and that effectively sealed the match. Brian West scored a late try after a good kick-off receive and the final score was 33-12, meaning that the Philippines finished 6th of 12.
In summary, the Philippines won two games an lost three. Rugby Performance Consultant, Expo Mejia said "It was a good strong start to the series and represents a firm foundation upon which to build". Coach Caravelli's message was simple - he wants the team to play to their full potential. At this stage of the series, he is less interested in the results and more interested in the players executing their agreed startegies on the pitch. This Borneo Sevens, together with the Shanghai Sevens (Sep 22/23) and the Mumbai Sevens (Oct 13/14) make up the Asian Sevens Series ranking tournaments for the all important Rugby Sevens World Cup qualifying tournament in Singapore on November 2 and 3, 2012.
With the Matthews brothers and Jake Ward available for the Shanghai Sevens, an improved performance can be expected from the Philippines to keep us in the top end of the rankings for Singapore.
In the other games, Japan beat Hong Kong in the final 33-22, after trailing at half-time, and China beat Korea in the 3rd/4th match. Final rankings from the tournament were as follows:
2. Hong Kong
5. Chinese Taipei
9. Sri Lanka
Scores for the Philippines:
v Singapore 17 -14
Tries: Morris, Maher, Wolff
v South Korea 0 - 29.
v Japan 5 - 53
v UAE 19 - 17
Tries: Morris, Stern, Wolff
Conversions: Maher 2
v Chinese Taipei 12 - 33
Tries: Guerra, West
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