The JML 15s League was in full swing at the Eagle's Nest in Silangan, with teams in the Bowl, Plate and Women’s Divisions all competing for places in the June 9th Finals. The Cup teams had a bye this weekend and the Alabang Eagles will fly to play the Cebu Dragons on Saturday June 2nd before the Philippine National Women’s team play an International game against Singapore.
The Women’s game will be the last lead up game before the Philippine National Women’s team plays in the Asian Women’s 15s Championships that will be held here in Manila from June 13 – 17th. Laos, Singapore and Thailand will all travel to the Philippines to play in the Asian Women’s Tournaments with games at Nomads Sports Club on Thursday June 14th and the Finals and Awards Ceremony at the Eagles Nest on Saturday June 16th.
Carabaos Win on the bell to move to the Plate Finals
The Carabaos came up against the Alabang Ibons at the Eagles' Nest and this game would decide the placings for the Plate Division finals on June 9th. The Ibons were definitely focused on beating the Carabaos after losing 33 – 31 after the final whistle when the Hapons converted a last minute try to snatch victory and the win.
The Ibons started poorly when they dropped the first ball of the game from the kick off. The Caraboas pounced on this opportunity to go straight on the attack in the Ibons territory. The Carabaos kept the ball tight and made several attacking raids at the Ibons line, utilizing their now recognized pick and drive techniques. The Ibons defense was relentless for the first five minutes of the game and they consistently stopped the large Carabaos forwards from scoring at the edge of the ruck. It wasn’t until the ball went wide to Jason Lock who scored in the corner to open the game and put the Carabaos on the front foot early in the game. The Ibons failed to regroup from the restart and found themselves under attack again on their own line. This time it was the Carabaos second rower Bradley Benton who charged over to score their second try in the first 10 minutes and take a 10 – 0 lead.
It wasn’t until the 15th minute of the game that the Ibons secured the ball and kicked for field position and were able to apply some pressure on the Carabaos defense. The Ibons strung together several attacking raids with Rupert Zappia finally scoring from a skillful backline move and converted the try to bring the Ibons back into the game at 10 – 7. The Ibons immediately fell into their own trap as they bundled their second kick off and this let the Carabaos pressure them into making mistakes that eventually led to a penalty that was converted by Daniel Melrose to take the lead to 13 - 7. The Carabaos seemed to drop their intensity and as soon as they did, David Carman sprang into life and made three decisive breaks that allowed the Ibons to score just before halftime through a sneaky dummy half try to Jaypee Paypon who darted from the base of a ruck and scored under the posts. The try was converted and the Ibons went into the halftime break with a narrow 14 – 13 lead.
The second half would prove to be just as even as the first and Rupert Zappia took advantage of some weak Carabaos defense when he scored his second try and the Ibons had the ascendency. All they had to do was play field possession and minimize their mistake rate to take out a victory. It was the Ibons lack of discipline at the ruck area that would lead to the next two penalties being converted by Dan Melrose to bring the game level at 19 – 19. The Ibons were their own worst enemy as they repeatedly gave away penalties for off side at the ruck which eventually led to two Ibons players being sin binned in the last 10 minutes of the game. The Ibons were on their own line and the Caraboas won another penalty and decided to take the scrum and punish the weakened Ibons forwards. The Caraboas pushed the Ibons into their own corner and it was Chris Anderson who dove over at no. 8 to score on the whistle and win the game for the Carabaos by 24 – 19. De ja vu for the Ibons, losing their second straight game at home on the whistle and they can only blame themselves for repeatedly infringing and allowing the Carabaos back into the game.
Maverick Vipers make in two from two wins heading into the Plate Final
The Bowl game saw a range of players take the field starting with the traditional rugby 101 teams which were both bolstered with National Underage Team players from ISM and BSM. The combination of enthusiasm from the 101 players and raw talent from the National underage players proved to be an effective recipe for a competitive game of 15s rugby. The game began at a blistering pace and it was Vipers number 8 Jason Lock who scored the opening try of the game when he beat three defenders to score out wide.
The game was certainly a struggle with both teams intent on winning the forward battle. The National Underage players marked up on each other on both sides with Tim Churchill, Jake Batuhan and Dan Melrose playing for the Bison/Tarsiers and Dan O'Reilly and AJ Brown playing for the Maverick Vipers. AJ Brown set up the challenge when he scored for the Vipers and was supported by last week’s MVP for the Mavericks Vipers, Charles Barthelemy who again showed that he is a player to watch in the future as he scored the Vipers third try to take a 17 – 0 lead into the halftime break.
The Bison Tarsiers were a different team in the second half and actually outscored the Vipers by 5 – 3, with Marc Patiag scoring the Bison’s only try and Dan Melrose kicking the only penalty goal for the game to end Maverick Vipers 20 defeating Bison Tarsiers 5. This means that the Maverick Vipers will again face the Bison-Tarsiers in the Plate Division final on June 9th.
Women’s Teams prepare for upcoming International Series
The Manila based women’s National Team players assembled at the Eagles Nest field to have an early training session and all the players will travel to Cebu this Thursday to prepare for an International 15s game against Singapore. This will be final hit out before the Philippine National Women’s Team host the Asian Women’s 15s tournament here in Manila on June 14 (Nomads) and June 16 (Eagles).
With half the National squad based in Cebu, 17 women turned out to play at Eagles on Saturday and the women played four quarters of 7s rugby. It was National Team player Rose Dela Cruz who stole the show in the first half by scoring two runaway tries. She was well supported by Jen Saldo from UMAK who showed she is definitely a prospect for the future with her deceptive speed as she ran the length of the field to score team Blues third try andtake a convincing halftime lead over the Red team by 17 – 0.
Acee San Juan played strongly at scrumhalf for the Blue team and constantly delivered quality ball to her speedy outside backs and scored a great solo try when she dummied from the base of a ruck and ran through to score under the posts. It was again the speedy youngster Jen Saldo who then scored the last two tries to see the Blue team win by 37 – 5.
The Women’s MVP for Saturday was Acee San Juan who was well supported by Cassie Umali and Manila Santos who will all feature in the upcoming International Series.
Plate MVP – Dan Melrose and Chris Httel
Bowl MVP – Dan O Reily
Women’s MVP – Acee San juan
Upcoming PRFU Events:
June 2, Cebu International School
Women’s International Series: Philippines v Singapore
JML Cup Division: Eagles v Cebu Dragons
ARFU Women's 15s: Teams: Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand
June 14, Nomad Sports Club, Merville Paranaque (eliminations)
June 16, Eagles Nest, Silangan (finals & awards)
JML 15s League Finals and Awards presentation
June 9, Eagles Nest – Cup, Plate, Bowl and Women’s Finals
Philippine National Games
June 23, RECS Stadium, Sta Cruz Laguna
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