Renowned New Zealand All Black and former National 7s Coach for the Philippines Frano Botica continues to support Rugby in Asia. Botica will link New Zealand's 2021 North Harbour Premiership Champions North Shore Rugby Club as a training hub for current and future Philippine Rugby players.
The former All Black contributed to the national team's rise through the Asia Sevens Series taking the Volcanoes from 10th in Asia in 2017 to qualifying for the World Sevens Series Qualifier two years later at Hong Kong.
“Frano along with his team helped forge a strong period for our national men's sevens program, we finished as high as third in Asia, played at the Hong Kong Sevens via the Qualifier as well as won Gold at the Southeast Asian Games” Jake Letts CEO of Philippine Rugby shared.
Botica’s next involvement however will be more focused and specific to Filipino players living nearby his hometown and in the city of Auckland.
“It’s great for both Philippine Rugby and any Filipinos living in Auckland to have access to a national program such as the Volcanoes in their own backyard. The Coleman brothers of our club are of Philippine heritage, all are skilled Rugby players and seeing them represent both North Shore and the Philippines has been special. Donald was also recently selected in North Harbour's NPC team which shows you the calibre of players Philippine Rugby has around the country” Botica added.
The Volcanoes are targeting Philippine communities abroad with a focus to drive development and participation amongst the countries battle with the Coronavirus. With rugby participation still on hold for the vast majority of the country, the talent identification and recruitment day will allow for live face-to-face coaching which has been virtually non-existent in the Philippines due to the pandemic.
“It’s important for our Union to be engaged and supporting rugby players where possible, our exposure with face-to-face coaching in the Philippines remains limited due to government restrictions so we are calling on experienced members of our community to develop our players and ensure the sport remains active. That means we need to stay relevant globally, as domestically we still face a number of challenges” shared Letts.
The Volcanoes boast top-level talent from New Zealand, already securing a number of quality players within their programs. "Currently in our team we have the likes of Donald, plus Ryan Reyes Howe, Joe Palabay Dawson, Nick Gaffud Robertson, Simon Gabion Sheehan and David Robinson-Polkey. All players were recruited from New Zealand, we hope to unearth further talent with this partnership" Letts added.
The talent identification and recruitment days remain a key strategy for 2021. Recently Philippine Rugby announced a partnership with Brothers Rugby Club – Brisbane. Securing a partnership with the North Harbour champions is another positive step forward for the Union in what has been a challenging landscape due to COVID-19.
The event will be on Sunday, August 29 at North Shore Rugby Football Club at 11:30 AM. It will be open to all Filipino players based in Auckland and across New Zealand. A registration sheet will be posted on both social media and the Union's website to track participants. Philippine Rugby aims to formalise Rugby partnerships globally, not only Australia & New Zealand, but also across Asia in Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, & UAE, as well Europe and the USA and Canada.
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