Lady Volcanoes' Pride Intact
The Philippine ladies Volcanoes finished off the ARFU Division 2 tournament in style this afternoon beating the hosts, the Lao PDR by 20 points to 12, scoring four tries to two. It was a courageous effort from the girls considering their squad had been reduced from 22 to 19 before the game and shortly after their last game commenced, they lost both Manila Santos and BK delos Santos after they clashed heads in committing themselves to an early tackle (they subsequently required 6 and 3 stitsches respectively - showing that a stitch in time saves nine!).
After a trying two games of rugby the girls started brightly and dominated the smaller Lao girls up front. After some bullocking work by Rozie Morala, the twins Noreen and Reena Novero and Rose dela Cruz, captain Trixie Pacis made valuable yards and was able to offload to Aiumi Ono who reached out to dot down for the first points of the game (and the tournament) for the Philippine side just on ten minutes. This gave the girls confidence and after the first half water break, more phase play led to the girls going close on a number of occasions before Rose dela Cruz was on hand to stretch the lead to 10 - 0. Aye Honoras had come on to replace Manila and BK had bravely returned to the field. The "twins" were getting used to 15s rugby and perhaps the highlight of the first half came when Madille Salinas was engulfed by the Lao defence but was able to slip an impossible pass to AC San Juan who gleefully executed a swan dive into the corner.
Cassie Umali was unable to convert , but the girls went into the half-time break comfortably ahead 15 - 0. Coaches Cullen and Konstanty warned that the Lao girls would come back hard in the second half and the Pinoy girls lost their composure, and after a series of penalties against them in the third quarter, the Laos started to play support rugby and crashed over for two tries, one of which was converted, which narrowed the margin to 15 - 12 at the last break.
Hearts were in mouths in the fourth quarter but after some astute kicking from the skipper, Trixie, the Volcanoes started to play in the right part of the field and after a rampaging run from Rozie Morala, the ball ended with Choc Nut Moore who called in Aiumi, popped to her and she plowed over for her second try of the match and made the game safe.
When the whistle blew the Volcanoes rejoiced and commiserated with their Lao opponents.
The forward coach's award went to Rozie Morala and Aiumi Ono picked up the second award as she was alwaysdangerous and tackled effectively at full back. Luisa Jordan recorded the hit of the day and Madille Salinas won the"assist" award. The girls then celebrated with the Assistant Ambassador andwere photographed with none other than the IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
Overall results of the tournament:
Thailand 38, Lao PDR 0
China 36, Philippines 0.
China 66, Lao PDR 0
Thailand 39, Philippines 0
Philippines 20, Lao PDR 12
China 38, Thailand 0.
So at the end of the day the Philippines finished third running the polished Chinese team closest.
The walking wounded will now make their way back home, sore but happy with their performance. Coaches MattCullen, Grant Rice and Susan Konstanty did a great job marshalling the team and Grace Penon was a caring and efficient manager.
On another dry, hot day in Vientiane, the Philippine Lady Volcanoes lined up against SE Asian rivals Thailand.
Earlier in the day the Philippine Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Maria Lumen B. Isleta, had hosted a reception for the Philippine girls and, in a lovley touch, the Ambassador greeted all players before the national anthems were played immediately prior to the match at the grand Chaoanouvong Stadium.
The Volcanoes were coming off a bruising match with the larger Chinese team the previous day, whilst the Thai girls had had the relatively easier match against the Lao girls. The first half was very tight and the girls were solid early with many rampaging forays by the forwards with Rozie Morala, Luisa Jordan and the "twins" Reena and Noreen Novero prominent. Nicole"Doughnut" Moore was also thrusting straight ahead under the direction of Cassie Umali at scrum-half. Whilst not wanting to quote any excuses, the referee wasn't having her best game and as our ladies were winning penalty after penalty often the Thai girls were not retiring the necessary ten meters to allow our centres, Manila Santos, Bela Silva to distribute the ball to our wingers. In one unfortunate incident the Assistant Referee spotted a punching incident from one of the Thai girls, but then erred by recommending to the main referee that (just) a penalty be awarded rather than issuing a card. Manila Santos executed a perfect bone-crunching tackle and was incorrectly penalized for a high tackle.
At half-time the score was 10 - 0 to the Thais. Their lead could have been greater but for some desperate defence from Rose dela Cruz, Jessica Filoteo and Tons Gambito. Trixie Pacis lead her troops out for the second half knowing that we had to score first to put pressure on the opposition. Unfortunately, whilst we had good field position and possession the Thais were now playing a simple brand of Sevens type rugby by spinning the ball wide at every opportunity. Aiumi Ono , Ann Layumas and Cassie Umali were tackling like demons but there always seemed to be another Thai girl about to support the ball carrier. In one particular act of courage, tiny AC San Juan brought down a much larger opponent, metres from the line. One needs to remember that ten of the 22 girls who played today had not played 15s rugby before. Well done also to Mae Ann Ubaub, Madille Salinas, Alrlene Trinkler, Blessie delos Santos and Aye Honoras for giving their all, all day.
The injuries were mounting now with Bela, Jessica and Choc Nut leaving leaving the field, and Charmaine Randa who had indicated to the mangement team earlier that she could not play, responded to the call in the second half and was fearless with her tackling. Eventually the Thai girls ran out winners 39 - 0 but the Volcanoes never gave up and played with Pinoy Pride right to the end. Coaches Susan Konstanty, Matt Cullen and Grant Rice will make sure the girls keep their chins up and we are all very confident that we will register our first points tomorrow in our final match against the Lao PDR.
The coaches' awards were issued to Cassie Umali who had a storming match, particularly in defence, Charmaine Ranada for fighting her way through the pain barrier and the "biggest hit" went to Rozie Morala, which could have been awarded for a number of solid tackles she made duirng the day.
The girls are learning about the toughness of rugby and face tomorrow's game without Rose Lanticse (injured against China, but insisted upon staying here with the team). Bela Silva and Jessica Filoteo. Hopefully in tomorrow's report we can talk about due reward for an excellent attitude with a win against the Lao PDR.
Many thanks to Grace Penon and Physio Paula who have been working overtime keeping the girls ready to go.
The Philippine Women's 15's Rugby team came up against a well-drilled and experienced Chinese Women's Rugby team that included many players who had played in the Chinese 7's National Team during the last two years on the Asian 7's circuit. This was the first time that 8 of the 15 starting Filipino team had experienced the opportunity of playing at International level. The game started in a very evenly contested battle which saw both teams putting their bodies on the line in a very physical encounter. It was not until the 15th minute of the first half that the nil all deadlock was broken. A well-weighted kick downfield saw the Chinese score out wide to take a 5 - 0 lead. The try was converted and the Lady Volcanoes knew they were in for a hard battlle.
The second quarter saw the Chinese backline show their experience with many attacking raids into the Philippines’ territory, the Lady Volcanoes combated the onslaught with some committed defense and the spectators were amazed at how the smaller Filipino ladies could take down their larger Chinese opponents. After a glut of possession, the Chinese managed to score out wide and took a second half lead of 24 - 0.
Coaches Susan Konstantly and Grant Rice rallied the Filipino team at halftime and could only praise the tenacious and never give up attitude of the many newcomers in such a fierce physical encounter. Both coaches implored their warriors to keep moving forward and challenge their larger opponents and this is exactly what the Lady Volcanoes did. The third quarter saw the Chinese score only one try which came at the end of the 45 minute period. The Chinese suddenly realized that the Filipinas were here to contest until the final whistle.
It was evident that the Lady Volcanoes were never going to surrender; injuries to two of the experienced players in the final quarter sparked a revival by the Filipino team. For the last 10 minutes of this quarter the Filipino team rallied to put on many raids into the Chinese scoring zone. The girls were almost over the line on few occasions, but the Chinese were able to hold back the attacking raids. The crowd supported and cheered the Lady Volcanoes as they took up the challenge to the Chinese. In the dying seconds of the game the Chinese swooped on a loose ball and raced 95meters to score and take the final scoreline to 36 to nil.
In true spirit, our team refused to surrender. At the end of the game, the Chinese team realized that they had beaten a spirited, never-say-die Filipino side and their bodies felt that they had been in a real contest.
The Coaches award was shared by Eloisa Jordan and Rozie Morala and the big hit of the game was a bone-cracker by Manila Santos.
Photos by: Jackie Hoffart
What a tour! What rugby! What coaching! What interesting accommodation!
On behalf of the PRFU Board, congratulations to all those involved with this tour. In short, on the rugby front, Philippines scored 144, the opposition scored 10.
The detailed game reports are outlined further below, but for many of the boys this was their first rugby tour and the bonds that have been formed will last forever. A combination of players from the Bahay Bata orphanage, International School Manila and British School Manila formed the core of the touring party with other single members from Cebu International School, Manila Japanese School, Makati Mavericks and England.
The touring party was met at the airport by Tim Smith (U16, Nuneaton, UK) and his father, Martin, who generously volunteered to be tour physiotherapist. The boys checked into the well-positioned, but less than luxurious UK Hostel within the Chung King Mansions in Nathan Road, Kowloon.
With little time to consider the opulence of their surroundings the boys were soon enjoying a meal (pre-arranged by the helpful Philippine consulate staff in Hong Kong) which was consumed at the nearby TGIF after negotiations with resident Filipino staff involving the purchase of brownies for dessert.
The boys dispersed to either Block A or Block E and were asleep by around midnight. On the basis of professional nutritionist advice, breakfast on Saturday morning was taken at the local McDonalds and the boys undertook the longish bus journey to Sandy Bay, located within the Hong Kong University.
By mid-morning, a largish contingent of Filipino supporters were congregating at Sandy Bay as the U14 boys were prepared with their strappings and received their final instructions from Coaches Melrose(s) and Brown. There was a quiet confidence among the group as the tourists had now largely been together for a period of 9-10 weeks, as the tour was originally scheduled for early October 2011.
Game 1 – Philippine Under 14s National Team vs Hong Kong Select Under 14s
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) had selected from their various clubs the best of their “steps” players, i.e. their better HK Chinese ethnic players. It soon became apparent that this group would be no match for our well-drilled boys.
After a tense beginning, with errors from both sides, the Philippines opened the scoring with a try in the corner to Andrew Holgate. Soon afterwards, Andrew left the game with a twisted ankle and played no further part in this match (but see the Game 3 report).
With the nerves now well settled, Fergus Gregori dotted down a 5-pointer and AJ O’Regan-Brown (“AJ”) at outside center scored the first of his hat-trick for the match. The half-time scored stood at 31-0 after Jeremy Churchill bustled over and AJ burst through for his second.
The front row of Mike Koh, Kaelum Madera and Kai Stroem (the skipper), were now asserting their authority on the match and the score would have been greater if Mike Koh, after a rampaging run had not decided to place the ball down before he reached the try line.
Unfortunately, Dan O’Reilly-Conboy also had to leave the field with a sore wrist but the coaches had stressed the importance of all 22 members of the squad contributing to the team’s performance and Cathal Moylan and Jamie Young ably stepped up to the challenge.
Into the second half and Andrew Melrose’s continued marshaling of his pack and quick service combined with Josh Whyte’s decision-making and distribution led to Cathal’s first try and AJ’s completion of his hat-trick. By now, the subs were having an impact and David Wensley was instrumental in Cathal’s second try. Ryan Santos scored an opportunist’s try and JR Valdez put the icing on the cake just before the final whistle.
Shamz Shamsuddin, Ryan Padilla and Jun-Jun Chua let nothing past them in defence and were creative going forward. Oliver Booth relished the bullocking work when he came on and Hamish Seddon made an incisive break and was unlucky not to score. John Becker was busy on his wing, while Maiki Ueda had a strong match often making yards with his trademark pick and drive.
Overall, a resounding victory: Philippines 60, HK Select 0.
Tries: AJ O’Regan-Brown (3), Cathal Moylan (2), Andrew Holgate, Fergus Gregori, Jeremy Churchill, Ryan Santos, JR Valdez
Conversions: AJ O’Regan-Brown (5)
Best Back: AJ O’Regan- Brown
Best Forward: Kai Stroem
Game 2: Philippine Under 16s National Team vs Hong Kong Select Under 16s
It was clear that this Philippine Touring Group had “come to play” and the HK U16 team seemed more prepared for our older Junior Volcanoes. With Tim Smith (fly-half), from the UK, having met his teammates only the night before, it was understandable that early on in this game there would be a battle in the forwards.
Taking advantage of possession and territory domination, and after several strong runs by Tim Churchill (No. 8), Tim Smith opened the scoring with a penalty. The boys known as “the bookends”, Carlo Albert and Sabino Padilla, assisted by their “partner in front-row crime” Kai Bechtel, were wearing down their opponents with their strong runs and crunching tackles.
After a strong start, Jack Boswell was forced to leave the field with a painful injury to his back, but as with the U14s, Joseph Flynn was ready to step into the breech and had a strong game thereafter.
Almost inevitably, Tim Churchill broke through for the first try, which was converted by the “other Tim” and the Philippines led 10-0 at the break.
Miguel Ayala had been impressive in tackling heavier opponents and Fuederiko Sampei was also strong in defence and Justin Semana was effective at the break-down and almost scored when unfortunately he placed the ball down on the foot of an opponent over the line.
If the scoreline at half-time, 10-0, did not truly reflect the dominance of the Philippines, when it became 10-5 after an opportunist try by HK immediately after the break, Paul Churchill’s team could easily have become rattled. Instead, after multiple excellent phases, Sabino saw a gap near the try-line and needed no further invitation to score under the posts. Minutes later, Tim Churchill was in for his second try and the lead had stretched to 24-5. By this stage, more use was being made of the backline, as Shoko Choga replaced Jonnel Madrona, who had been very tidy. Arthur Chee and Gio Raasas had let nothing past them all game and Fergal Feeney and Callum Gregori (captain) had been dangerous and always warranted attention from the HK defence.
After the final water break, Tim Smith made the game safe with his second penalty and Arthur Chee reaped due reward for his excellent game, capping off a fluent movement with the final try of the game, which was converted. Brian Ko and Ronald Gonzaga got their first taste of international rugby and the U16s ran out deserved winners 34-5.
Tries: Tim Churchill (2), Sabino Padilla, Arthur Chee
Penalties: Tim Smith (2)
Conversions: Tim Smith (4)
Best Back: Arthur Chee
Best Forward: Sabino Padilla
After two well-deserved victories, the boys were able to watch two first-class men’s matches at the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC), after lunch provided there by the HKFRU. A sumptuous buffet dinner by the poolside at the HKFC was enjoyed before the boys collapsed into their beds – the U14s a little nervous about the prospect of playing the highly regarded HKFC U14 side early the next morning.
Game 3: Philippine Under 14 National Team vs HKFC Under 14 Team
Due to a withdrawal earlier in the week of a local club opponent, HKFC had graciously agreed to grant our request for “more rugby” by allowing our U14 national team to play them.
Coach Steve Melrose admitted (only later) to being nervous about the game. We were playing a team who would be experienced and on their home turf. After such a splendid Saturday, anything less than a win may have taken the gloss from the excellent results of the previous day.
The first-half performance in this game will surely go down in PRFU’s short history as a testament to excellent coaching, motivated players and a willingness to show the rest of Asia that Philippine rugby players, of any age, should not be underestimated.
By half-time, the U14s led by 36-0 after a breathtaking display of powerful forward play, complemented by incisive running from the backs on the expansive main pitch at HKFC. In particular, our Bahay Bata boys, having grown in confidence from the previous day, led the way. Jun-Jun Chua scored two brilliant tries and Ryan Padilla touched down in the corner. Shamz had scored the boys’ first try and Dan O’Reilly-Conboy galloped in for the second. Andrew Holgate (yes, recovered from the previous day) showed a turn of speed and a swerve that any experienced winger would be proud of. All of this on the back of a rampaging forward pack – Kai Stroem, Kaelum Madera, Maiki Ueda and Fergus Gregori excelling. Daniel O’Reilly Conboy was safe as houses on the restart, bravely soldiering on with his injury from the previous day.
Half-time could not arrive early enough for the HKFC coaches and to their credit a change of game plan and additional determination saw the Philippines pinned in their own half early in the second half. HKFC scored a try wide out, but they would be their first and last score of the game. AJ scored a break-away try, and then came, perhaps, the try of the weekend. After a fluent back line movement, the ball arrived with David Wensley, who hared off down the wing. Realising that he would be tackled and after a superb initial dummy, David offloaded perfectly to AJ with an inside pass, and they both went off to celebrate under the posts. Duly converted, it was a fitting finale to a fine weekend of competitive rugby for our boys.
HKFC had taped the game and the boys were thrilled to be able to re-live their exploits on the big screen after their shower.
Philippines 0, HK Select 0.
Tries: Jun Jun Chua (2), AJ O’Regan-Brown (2), Shamz Shamsuddin, Dan O’Reilly-Conby, Andrew Holgate, Ryan Padilla.
Conversions: AJ O’Regan-Brown (5)
Best Back: Jun Jun Chua
Best Forward: Fergus Gregori
HKFC had been superb hosts, and after a delicious lunch on the Sportsman’s Bar patio, thank yous and awards were given formally.
Over the weekend, positive comments were made by spectators and the referees not only on the athletic ability of our boys but on their technical play, which made it obvious that they had been expertly coached. Huge, huge thanks to the hours put into the coaching by Steve Melrose, Paul Churchill, Bill Brown and Daniel Melrose – simply superb. Having agreed with our opponents to allow rolling substitutes, all players enjoyed substantial game time.
On the administration side, very new into her new job, Junnel Palomata (now nick-named Aunty Junnel), was brilliant with her organization, liaison with the Consulate and her obvious caring attitude towards the boys. Thanks also to Martin Smith for supervising the physio side of things (no serious injuries to report). Cheers to Ericson Rizal, the Bahay Bata guardian. Rick Santos, who stepped up early on with the juniors via the CBRE sponsorship, and was a great support to the team all weekend.
But finally of course, well done to the boys. On the field – sensational. Off the field, in challenging circumstances surrounding the accommodation, they were responsive and respectful.
The Junior Philippine Volcanoes have done the country proud.
1. Kai Stroem (Captain)
2. Kaelum Madera
3. Mike Koh
4. Fergus Gregori
5. Maiki Ueda
6. JR Valdez
7. Jeremy Churchill
8. Daniel O'Reilly-Conboy
9. Andrew Melrose
10. Joshua Whyte
11. Shamz Shamsuddin
12. Jun-Jun Chua
13. AJ O'Regan-Brown
14. Andrew Holgate
15. Ryan Padilla
16. Oliver Booth
17. Hamish Seddon
18. Jamie Young
19. Ryan Santos
20. David Wensley
21. Cathal Moylan
22. John Becker
Under 16s1. Sabino Padilla
2. Kai Bechtel
3. Carlo Albert
4. Jack Boswell
5. Miguel Ayala
6. Fuederiko Sampei
7. Justin Semana
8. Timothy Churchill
9. Jonnel Madrona
10. Tim Smith
11. Arthur Chee
12. Callum Gregori (Captain)
13. Fergal Feeney
14. Gio Raasas
15. Jesse Dayuno
16. Shoko Choga
17. Joseph Flynn
18. Brian Ko
19. Ronald Gonzaga
Coaching & Support Staff
Stephen Melrose - Senior Coach (U14s)
Bill Brown - Assistant Coach (U14s)
Daniel Melrose - Assistant Coach (U14s/U16s)
Paul Churchill - Senior Coach (U16s)
Junnel Palomata - Tour Manager
Peter Lawrence - Assistant Tour Manager
Ericson Sibal - Bahay Bata Guardian
Martin Smith - Physiotherapist
The GLOBE PRFU 7s finals were held at the Nomads sports club last Saturday and nine men’s teams arrived to battle for the Cup and Plate Trophies. In the Cup Division we saw the Alabang Eagles and Ibons, Manila Hapons, MAAP Warriors and Manila Nomads while the Plate division saw the introduction of the new “All Filipino league” with the Globe Immortals, Raging Bison, Vipers and Tarsiers all entering teams in the their first PRFU league finals campaign.
The day began with a round-robin play off in each division. All games were going according to plan until the Alabang Ibons met the Nomads in the Cup Semi-Final. The Ibons had obviously been practicing the 7s game and came out firing against their larger Nomads opponents. The game was fiercely competitive with Jon Morales and Saki Tuisolia forcing the Ibons to make several strong tackles. It was 7 – 7 with two minutes remaining on the clock, before Chris Everingham broke through the Nomads defense and linked up with David Carman to score the try of the day that lead the Ibons to a final against their club A team, the Eagles.
The cup final was then played between the Alabang Eagles and the Alabang Ibons and it was the club’s premier team who proved too strong for the Ibons. With National Team players like Tim Bweheni, Andrew Wolff and Eric Tai the Eagles ran out easy winners by 28-7. Tim Bweheni was named the Cup Division “Most Valuable Player” as he again displayed that he possesses some natural talent in the game of Rugby 7s.
The Plate Division was a battle royal with the four new Filipino clubs playing and training at PhilSports Stadium for the last 2 months to prepare for the Plate Finals. The Tarsiers played the Vipers for third and forth positions and after two games the Tarsiers won the third place on for- and-against tally of 22 points for 10 points against. This left the Globe Immortals to play the Plate Final against their fierce opponents, the Bison in a match which proved to be closest game of all the finals.
The Raging Bison
The Globe Immortals were led by Wilson Caisip who has been one of the strongmen of the newly formed club and he rallied the Globe team to take the game to the Bisons. The Bison certainly did not lie down and stunned the more fancied Globe team with some bone crushing tackles as the score remained 0 – 0 for the first five minutes.
It was National Development team representative player, Jay Coronel who finally broke the dead lock and busted through the Bison’s defense to score a great individual try, the only one scored in the first half.
The second half proved just as tight as the first, until the last minute of the game when the Bison decided to attack from their own 10 meter line. A gap opened, and the Bison scored a 90 meter try to get back in the game. They only needed to convert the kick to draw the match and take it into overtime, unfortunately they missed the conversion and the final siren rang with the Globe Immortals scrapping home to win the inaugural Globe PRFU 7s Plate final by 7 – 5. Jay Coronel was named the Plate Division “Most Valuable Player”
The PRFU intend on running three elite leagues in 2012 that include:
PRFU 10s League (Jan, Feb, March)
PRFU 15s League (April, May, June)
PRFU 7s League Rd 1 (August, Sept)
PRFU 7s League Rd 2 (Oct, Nov)
Congratulations to all the teams that played in the PRFU leagues in 2011 and we all look forward to a competitive season in 2012.
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