After 60 minutes, a 19 to 17 point lead for the Philippines wasn’t enough, as the Hong Kong Warriors finished off with a late point haul in the last twenty minutes to take the win against the PH Rising Stars Rugby team.
In a David and Goliath match up, the Philippine Rising Stars showed promising talent up against their experienced counter parts, the Hong Kong Warriors. The national development rugby team of the Philippines, backed by First Pacific and the MVP Sports Foundation, were on a road to producing a remarkable upset as they faced a fiercely competitive Hong Kong Chinese national team.
The Rising Stars matched their counter parts play for play, the Warriors started the match strongly scoring out wide to give the visiting team a 5 point head start. Not long after, pressure upon pressure forced the Rising Stars to be awarded a penalty try which gave them a lead of 7 points to 5 after 15 minutes of play. The Warriors answered back with a try of their own taking the lead 12 to 7. In the 24th minute, half back and Clark Jet Joemari Rauras broke through the defence to set up Jovic Paypon under the posts to hand back the lead for the Philippines making it 14 to 12 with Jonel Madrona successfully converting the try. The Warriors however kept their composure and scored right before half time making it 17 to 14 after 40 minutes of play.
After the second half break the Philippines answered with an intercept by Paypon to set up Santos Knight Frank Maverick Ronald Fong with a runaway try. The Rising Stars taking the lead 19 to 17. From here it was all the Warriors, putting on 17 unanswered points to make it 34 to 19. Fong yet again found himself on a turnover ball to make it a double with a runaway to close the scoreline to 34 to 26. Hong Kong however forced the game out of reach with another try to make it a final score 41 to 26 to the visitors.
“It was close, an exciting start to what could have been. The Philippines looked to be the form team for 60 minutes, however Rugby is an 80 minute game and Hong Kong showed their experience in the end. Credit to both teams, overall it was really positive day for Rugby development for both nations” shared Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby.
The program has been ongoing for 5 years, and both Unions use the program to identify talent for the top national programs. All players are selected from the unions grassroots programs to establish a pathway for further national representation.