The Philippine Volcanoes snatched a win from Sri Lanka’s clutches at the last second of play at the Asian 5 Nations tournament in Colombo.
The host country scored first with a penalty kick early in the first half which was answered by the Volcanoes with a try from perennial scorer, Matt Saunders. The rest of the first half was a seesaw battle which ended with the Philippines leading 19 – 17, with the Volcanoes’ tries coming from David Feeney, Steve Howorth and two conversions by Captain Oliver Saunders.
A try from an unlucky bounce and a converted penalty kick gave Sri Lanka the lead in the second half with the Volcanoes failing to capitalize on one of the Tuskers getting sent off the field with a yellow card. With the score at 25 – 19 in favor of Sri Lanka in the 86th minute (overtime due to time lost for injuries) Volcanoes scrum-half Jake Letts drove the ball over the Tuskers forward pack for a try, bringing the score to 25 – 24. Fly half Alex Aronson was tasked to convert the try for an additional 2 points. Aronson’s kick was unsuccessful, however the referee declared that the Tuskers charged towards the Philippine kicker too early and ordered a re-kick. Aronson’s second attempt from 23 meters was successful, giving the Philippines a 26-25 victory over Sri Lanka.
"It was a brutal encounter and a great win away from home in front of a vocal home ground" said Head Coach Stu Woodhouse after the match. "It was Sri Lanka's last game and we showed some good character to overcome the odds late in the game to come away with our first win."
The Volcanoes’ most-capped player Jake Letts had this to say about his heroic try “It just happened so quickly. I saw a little gap and was able to dart through. The next thing I remember, I was forcing myself to score the try. I was worried that I would lose the ball. Luckily, I didn’t.”
“For the second kick I just thought that this was the moment that you dream of when you play sports” shared Alex Aronson, “I tried to calm myself down, go through my routine and just kick it. I’m just glad it was successful. I don’t know what I would have done if I let my teammates down; they all played so hard.”
“Our boys showed a lot of resilience. I’m very proud of our team for never giving up. The culture & brotherhood that the Volcanoes have is something special to be a part of. It’s great to finally give our supporters a win.” said Captain Oliver Saunders.
The victory gives the Philippines its first win in the A5N series, ensuring that the Volcanoes don’t finish at the bottom of the Elite Division in 2014.
The Volcanoes face South Korea on home soil in their final game of the series on Saturday, May 24 at Southern Plains Field in Laguna.
The Philippine Volcanoes Men’s Rugby team defeated South Korea in the battle for third place of the Singapore leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series on November 3 at the Singapore Padang. The win clinched for the Philippines the third and last Asian team slot for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.
The Philippines started the competition ranked 6th in Pool A with Hong Kong (ranked 1) and Guam (11). After thrashing Guam with a 33-0 victory, the Volcanoes bowed to Hong Kong 29 – 12 to set up a Quarter Final battle against China. A nail-biting 14-7 win over China placed the Philippines in the Semi-Final versus Asian Rugby powerhouse, Japan.
The 7-17 defeat to Japan meant the Volcanoes needed to beat 4th ranked South Korea in order to finish third in the tournament and book their place in the Rugby Sevens World Cup to which Japan and Hong Kong had earlier qualified. The Philippines went into half-time with a 17-7 lead but South Korea battled back in the second half. The Volcanoes held strong and the match ended with a final score of 22-19.
“It is just fantastic that we are going to the World Cup. This is the first time that the Philippines will be playing in a World Cup and it is huge feat for us,” said team captain Harry Morris.
“The third/fourth match was definitely closer than I wanted it to be. I give credit to the players for doing this for the nation,” said Coach Al Caravelli. The American coach was the former coach of the US National Sevens Rugby Team before being tapped to head the Volcanoes in August.
This latest milestone is the 3rd in what has been the Volcanoes most successful year in its existence. Starting 2012 with a debut in the prestigious Hong Kong 7s International Tournament in March, they then went on to win Division 1 of the Asian 5 Nations tournament in April placing themselves among the top 5 elite teams in Asia.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens will be held in Moscow, Russia in June 2013. It will be the sixth edition of the tournament and most probably its last as Rugby Sevens will now be an official sport in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
For a details on each of the Philippines' matches, photos and videos, please click here.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union is proud to announce that it has been awarded the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Development Award for 2012.
Announced at the ARFU Council Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 3, the prestigious award will be formally presented to the PRFU on November 18, 2012 during the ARFU Annual General Meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Asian Rugby Football Union spans a vast territory from Kazakhstan in the north to Indonesia in the south and Lebanon in the west to Guam in the east. Of ARFU’s 28 member unions, 14 are full members of the International Rugby Board: China, Chinese Taipei, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. There are a further six associate IRB members in Asia: Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Laos, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan is the newest ARFU associate member union, joining in 2011, following Lebanon and UAE’s admission in December 2009.
The Development Award is given to a group or individual that has achieved outstanding success in the development of Rugby, at any level of the game or in the aspects of playing, coaching, administration, training, capital development or Rugby-related volunteer or charity initiatives. Apart from Philippine Rugby’s successes on the playing field, the ARFU recognized the PRFU’s activities in developing the sport of Rugby at the grassroots level through free training sessions, local 15s, 7s and 10s club leagues and its booming Juniors program which counts students from the International schools as well as several charitable foundations as its participants.
Alvin San Diego, PRFU President commented, “We are honored to be recognized by the Asian Rugby Football Union with this award. Without the efforts of the PRFU team, and more importantly, the many volunteers that persevered when the sport of Rugby was unknown and unheard of in the Philippines, this would not be possible.” He continued, “It has been a great year so far for Philippine Rugby, with the Volcanoes winning promotion to the Asian 5 Nations Elite Division and seeing action in the prestigious Hong Kong 7s International Tournament. We have also seen growth in the local Rugby scene with new teams being formed and more people wanting to try the sport.”
The PRFU offers free Rugby 101 sessions every Monday and Wednesday at PhilSports Field in Pasig and every Sunday at the Sandtrap in Banilad, Cebu. Plans are underway to offer these sessions in Marikina and other areas of the country. Development officers are also teaching the sport to students at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, University of Makati, Quezon City Polytechnic University and to the children of Bahay Bata, Duyan ni Maria, Tuloy Foundation, Child Hope, Bulacan Rugby Club and WE Foundation in Smokey Mountain. The Union has also stepped up its efforts in providing training for coaches and match officials.
In closing, San Diego said “Our aim is to have Rugby become a sport widely recognized and played in the Philippines. This award certainly confirms that we are heading in the right direction. We look forward seeing more Filipinos playing and enjoying the great sport of Rugby.”
Information on Rugby in the Philippines can be found at the PRFU’s official website www.prfu.com or on its social networking sites: www.facebook.com/PhilippinRugby and www.twitter.com/PhilippineRugby.
Please click on the link below to download the press release.
The Philippines National Rugby Union Team easily defeated Malaysia in the battle to stay in A5N Div 1 in Seoul Korea today with an 86 – 20 win. This victory allows the Philippines to remain in the A5N Div 1 tournament in 2012 while Malaysia are now relegated to Div 2. The Philippines head coach Expo Mejia is confident that the Philippines will come back next year and claim victory at this level and win promotion to the Premier Division in the Asian 5 Nations tournament in 2013 with a view to competing for a Rugby World Cup qualification in 2014. “The current national men’s team has an average age of 22 and these players will develop over the next three years and will hit their peak in time to challenge for a top spot in Asia.”
After narrowly losing 34 - 20 to the number 1 ranked team Korea on Wednesday, the Philippines came out with all guns blazing to prove not only to themselves but to the Asian Rugby Community that they will be force to reckon with in the coming years. Korea are currently ranked 33rd in the world and the Philippines, who have yet to receive a ranking pushed the Koreans to the limit. This was evident today when Singapore were beaten by Korea by 58 to 19, meaning the Philippines were the closest team to Korea in this year’s A5N Div 1 tournament.
Oliver Saunders & Justin Coveney
The game against Malaysia opened with the Philippines scoring the first four tries in the first 15 minutes of the game, with the outside backs dominating the opposition. Joven Clarke, Gareth Holgate and Justin Coveney all crossed the line while Oli Saunders converted three to take a commanding lead of 26 – 0. Malaysia finally entered the Philippines territory and on the back of successive penalties, were able to take two shots at goal to register their first points of the game bringing the score to 26 – 6. Newly-capped test halfback James Price then decided to take matters into his own hands and ran the blind side to link up with the “flying jeepney” Justin Coveney who crossed for his forth try of the day. The Philippines then gave away another four penalties in a row and allowed the Malaysian kicker to slot another two penalty shots and bring the score to 31 – 12.
The final two minutes of the first half saw a try from each side, with Philippines Vice-Captain Chris Hitch making a damaging run through the midfield, carrying three Malaysian defenders across the line with him to score beside the posts. From the next kick-off the Malaysians were able to make steal and their winger chipped-kicked and ran onto a lucky bounce to score out wide on the halftime siren. The Philippines entered halftime with a 38 -17 lead. During the break, National team coach Expo Mejia implored the Philippines to refrain from giving up repeated penalties that were allowing the Malaysians to look better than what they were playing.
To their credit, the Philippine team came out in the second half and played to their patterns with a more disciplined approach. They then played the best half of Rugby at the 2011 A5N Div 1 tournament and scored 56 points to Malaysia’s 3 and proved that they can compete with the top level nations in Asia. James Price, Gareth Holgate, Justin Coveney, Patrice Olivier all scored backline tries before the long serving Josh Sutcliffe was able to drive the forwards over the line from a 5 meter lineout and score the last try of the game to win 86 – 20. This was the biggest victory score in A5N Div 1 history and Singapore had only beaten Malaysia by 52 – 18.
Chris Hitch and Gareth Holgate
Best Forward for the Philippines was Chris Hitch and best Back was Justin Coveney. Coach Expo Mejia also announced that Philippines Best Player of the Tournament was Gareth Holgate. Gareth will fly directly to Japan from the A5N tournament to start a professional Rugby Contract along with the Philippines Team Captain, Michael Letts.
In 2008 the Philippines were ranked in Div 4 and now in 2011 they are competing and winning games in Division 1. This is an incredible feat and the PRFU General Manager, Matt Cullen was impressed with the standard of play that the Philippines displayed at the tournament. “This is our first taste of Rugby Union at this level of competition and we have already cemented a place in the Division 1 rankings. We will work hard over the next 12 months and we now realize exactly what must be done to win at this level. We look forward to taking on the top nations in Asia in the coming years, Philippines Rugby Union is here to stay”
The Bahay Bata boys spent the day with their host families and attended the daily classes at Clifton College. The boys had to partake in the various subjects at Clifton and this would be a different format than what they are accustomed to back in the Philippines.
After the lunch break the Bahay Bata boys had their first ever swim at the Clifton College indoor swimming pool and enjoyed the heated pool and indoor swimming facility, they knew exactly why England has indoor swimming pools -- the weather.
The team then prepared to play the Clifton College U14 A-team and knew that this game would be a tougher encounter than the victory they enjoyed over the B-team on Tuesday. The teams were evenly matched and the Clifton College team had prepared for the Bahay Bata playmakers. Fortunately, the sun was shining and unlike Tuesday’s game the boys were able to throw the ball around without the pressure of the wet conditions and a slippery ball.
It was Bahay Bata who came out firing in the second half with Neil Garcia scoring on the back of some solid forward play to take the lead 15 – 10. Kingsley Ballesteros was playing the game of tour as he consistently ran the ball forward engaging the Clifton defense and continually recycling the ball to set up attacking raids for the Bahay Bata backline. It was the Bahay Bata speedster John Mark Manaloto who was able to step around his opposite winger to score taking Bahay Bata’s lead to to a commanding 20 – 10.
The Clifton College team suddenly realized that they were at the hands of defeat and reacted with force and drove the Bahay Bata team deep into their own territory and eventually scored a try 20 – 15. The Clifton team knew they that there was only minutes left in the game and they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Bahay Bata defense. This paid off with the Clifton College halfback diving over to score from the base of a ruck to equalize the game at 20 – 20 on the fulltime whistle. He then had to kick the conversion to win the game and level the series at one all, fortunately for the Bahay Bata team, he missed the conversion and the game ended in a draw. As Bahay Bata had won the first game by 20 -0 they were awarded the inaugural Clifton Cup.
Clifton College principal Mr. John Milne praised the efforts of both teams and challenged the Bahay Bata team to return next year to defend their trophy.
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