In 2011 the International School of Manila embarked on beefing up the Rugby Union program and under the leadership of Bill Brown this program has resulted in immediate results with the ISM teams winning all three of the 2013 MANSAC Schoolboys Divisions. ISM led the way in 2011 by introducing a middle school program and this was quickly followed by both BSM and EIS which allowed the first middle school competition to take place in the 2012/13 schoolboys series. It was also fantastic to see the introduction of the Clark Rugby Club into the schoolboys’ series and the all Filipino club from Pampanga entered teams in the Middle School and Junior varsity divisions.
The 2013 MANSAC Schools tournament saw a record number of teams enter in the three divisions, Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School. These included Brent International School, Faith Academy, International School of Manila, European International School, British School Manila, and Clark Rugby Club. Teams from these schools played every Friday and Saturday from late November 2012 to the last weekend in January 2013 and cherished the opportunity to play competitive rugby union for their schools and clubs.
The competition in each division was intense with all teams winning games throughout the tournament and the occasional draw to throw a spanner in the works. It wasn't until the finals that ISM started to show their depth and strength when they ran out winners in the Varsity Boys final by 45 – 12 over Faith Academy. This ISM team will travel to Kuala Lumpur to now play in the ISAIS International Schoolboys regional finals and they will be very competitive coming of a successful season in the MANAC competition. The Varsity Final featured a host of players who played in the Philippine National u16s and u18s teams in 2012 and this set the platform for an exciting finals series. Congratulations to the ISM Varsity Boys team and coaching staff for a stellar season and good luck in the IASIS schoolboy’s competition.
The Junior Varsity semi finals were the closest fought games of the finals with ISM winning a close semi final by defeating Faith Academy 25 – 12. The second semi final proved to be the game of the day when Clark Rugby Club scored in the last minute to defeat BSM by 14 – 10. BSM had dominated much of the field position and led the game at halftime, it wasn’t until CRC received a penalty from a restart that they were able to show their fabulous attacking flair as they passed the ball from one side of the field to the other and put together eight attacking phases that eventually led to score the winning try. The Junior Varsity final was a one sided affair with the dominate ISM forwards controlling much of the match and it was obvious that the CRC were tiring from their hard fought semi final win. ISM claimed the Junior Varsity trophy by winning the final by 51 – 0.
The Middle School boy’s finals witnessed EIS play ISM. Both these teams had faced off during the season and were very even entering the finals series. EIS had defeated BSM in their semi final by 45 – 7 and a strong ISM squad defeated CRC by 45 – 7. This set up a great showdown in the final. It was ISM who started the first half with a dominate display running in the first three tries and taking a 15 point lead. EIS then scored a try before the halftime break and showed glimpses of their attacking talent. ISM came out and closed the final out by 41 – 12 and claimed the schools third trophy for this year’s MANSAC schoolboys series.
The 2012/13 MANSAC Schoolboys Rugby 10s Competition has been one of the most successful in recent years and all the schoolboy teams are improving and numbers are increasing. This bodes well for the selection of the Philippine National u14; u16 and u19s teams for 2013 and all the schoolboy players will have an opportunity to trial for these teams in the second half of 2013.
A final word of thanks and appreciation must go to both ISM and BSM for allowing the tournament to be held at their rugby fields throughout the season. It was a great year of rugby for the all teams involved and the coaches and team managers must also be congratulated for the sportsmanship that was displayed throughout the tournament.
Looking forward to seeing everyone back again for the 2013/14 MANSAC schoolboy’s season and playing rugby in the CBRE Junior Leagues and hopefully Philippine National teams in 2013.
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