The Philippine national rugby teams will begin their final preparations for the Asia Sevens Series. The series will be contested by the top eight teams in Asia, boasting heavy weights Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and more. The Volcanoes will compete across a packed schedule over the next eight weeks, preparing for three international events traveling to Thailand, Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
The Men’s team, sponsored by Globe Telecom and JML Philippines will welcome in new Head Coach Darryl Suasua. Suasua brings in a highly experienced background from New Zealand.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to be involved with the Volcanoes and feel honoured to be in this coaching role. Being part of the Asian 7s series is a challenge that I really look forward to. I was involved in the series when it first kicked off. There is a unique flavour to the style of rugby played in the region and I’m excited to be involved and hopefully contribute to a successful campaign” shared Suasua.
Suasua will be assisted by experienced former National Sevens Captain Jake Robrigado Letts. “I am excited to take a more active assistant coaching role this year, previously I looked after the program in the background but standing beside Darryl and learning from his coaching philosophy will be very valuable and hopefully my experience with the players can be beneficial to our preparation” Letts added.
The women’s team will be led by their 2019 silver medal SEA Games coaching staff Fetala’i Taua’a and Andy Brown. Brown and Taua’a have been working alongside each other for both the 15s and 7s national rugby programs and have their biggest challenge ahead, competing against the top teams in Asia across three tournaments. This years series will be the first since 2014 the women’s program have qualified in the back-to-back format.
"We're really excited to have the opportunity to play at the top level of Asia again. We've got our challenges but we're focused on rebuilding and are very positive about putting out competitive performances." Taua'a explained. Coach Brown has been instrumental preparing the locally based players and feels optimistic with the reinforcements coming in. "Locally we have been training for a few months now and it's been going well, we look forward to having the extended squad brought together to bring our training up another level".
A training squad of nineteen men and seventeen women have been identified by Philippine Rugby to push for final selection into the touring twelve for Leg 1. Legs 2 and 3 to Korea and UAE will have a number of players also become available for national duties. The team will be supported by the Philippine Sports Commission as they begin their final preparations for the series.
The 2022 Asia Sevens Series will be sanctioned by Asia Rugby as played across the following dates and locations:
Round 1: Thailand on October 22 and 23
Round 2: South Korea on November 12 and 13
Round 3: UAE om November 25 and 26
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