(L) Ph Volcano Manny Olondriz will look to dominate at the line out for Eagles RFC. (R) Ph Volcano Robert Jones will be a key link between the forwards and the backs for Nomads.
The first of two 2018 SPI 15s Grand Final weekends kicks off this Saturday at Southern Plains, Laguna. The nation's top Premiership teams, the Eagles RFC and the Manila Nomads, will go head-to-head to see which team will be crowned the 2018 SPI 15s Champions.
The SPI 15s, proudly sponsored by Seapac Philippines Inc, is the countries 15s domestic competition. Played over four months across four divisions for both men’s and women’s.
The Manila Nomads come into the match as reigning champions, after winning the 2017 division 32 to 29 over the Eagles RFC in what was a fiercely contested final last year. For 2018 however, it will be the Eagles as hot favorites as they remain undefeated in 2018. Boasting Philippine Volcanoes Joe Palabay Dawson, Jackson Pato and Gregory Golman, the Eagles will be looking to earn back the title of domestic club champions this year. The team is led by experienced Head Coach David Johnston, he will have to do it however without two of his star players and two Philippine Volcanoes Timothy Bweheni and veteran representative Gareth Holgate, both have been ruled out with injuries.
The Nomads will field Volcanoes of their own, most evidently Robert Amalay Jones and David Feeney who are expected to lead and direct the reigning champions. The Nomads will also call upon Resident XV Captain Chris Anderson and Ph Volcano Benjamin Priagola Mudie to be in top form to put the experienced pack on the front foot.
“The SPI 15s has always been traditionally close, last year we had the Nomads put together their best performance of the season in what was their biggest occasion, the final. They showed true grit and never gave up. I would say, it could be a different story on Saturday, I don’t think the Eagles have forgotten about that one. They will come out fighting no doubt and look to gather momentum early’ shared Jovan Maslalunga, Competitions Manager for Philippine Rugby.
Each members of the Nomads and the Eagles RFC are also playing for higher honours, all players still looking to earn selection in national colours later this month. With two national programs in competition, the Philippine Volcanoes team will play Singapore on June 23 and 26 in the Asia Rugby Championship whilst the feeder program to the Volcanoes the Philippine Residents XV team will host a touring team from the United Kingdom, the Penguins RFC on the same dates.
“It’s going to be a great game, you have the two top teams not only playing for the Premiership title, but also making their last push for selection into the National Team Programs. Coach Stu Woodhouse will be tracking players for the Volcanoes, and David Johnson keeping a close eye on who he wants in the Residents XV program. There’s plenty to play for” Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby shared.
The Premiership division for SPI 15s is the top division of domestic Rugby in the Philippines. It features the best players playing in the highest division. The Championship division final, is the second division under Philippine Rugby. It will be played next week with the HMR Ibons and the Santos Knight Frank Mavericks to battle it out for 1 and 2. The Subic Shark Jets will take on the Manila Carabaos for third while the Makati Chiefs will take on the Albay Bulkans for 5th and 6th place.
The match for the Premiership final between the Manila Nomads and the Eagles RFC is at 2:15 pm at Southern Plains on June 9, entry is free.
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