The Philippine Volcanoes Men’s Rugby 7s team has beaten all the odds by winning the Silver Medal at the 2011 Asian Men’s Rugby 7s Championships.
The Philippines entered the tournament ranked 7th and beat Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates in the Pool matches, heading into the Quarter Finals.
Day 2 started for the Volcanoes with an emphatic win over the home favorites, Malaysia in a heated contest between the South East Asia rivals.
The final score saw the Philippines win by 28 – 14. The game was played with intensity from both sides and it was the “Flying Jeepney" Justin Coveney who opened the scoring for the Volcanoes. Matt Saunders then scored the Philippines next try to even the game at 14 – 14 at the halftime break. The same players reversed the try scoring efforts in the second half and the Philippines knocked out Malaysia in front of their home crowd to move to a Semi Final against the powerhouse sporting nation, China.
The Philippines had never beaten China on the four occasions that the teams met in the Rugby 7s Asian Championships in 2010 and 2011.
The Philippines knew they had to combat the Chinese speed and injected Luke Matthews into the starting lineup to add some pace to the outside backs. This tactic proved its worth immediately with Luke Matthews scoring the first try for the Philippines. The Chinese team replied with two first half tries and went to the halftime break with a 14 – 7 lead. The game hung in the balance until the Harry Morris broke through some weak Chinese defense to score the equalizer just before fulltime. The game finished in a 14 all draw and the quarter final entered extra time with a golden point rule to win.
The Philippines looked confident heading into the overtime period and Joe Matthews was able to break away and score a try under the posts to secure a remarkable win and put the Volcanoes in their first ever Cup Final at the Asian Championships.
The Asian Men’s Championships is played by the top 12 Rugby Nations in Asia and can be compared to playing in the Asian Games. It was a remarkable feat by the Philippines to make the Cup Final and they had defeated Kazakhstan, UAE, Malaysia and China on their victorious road to success.
The Final saw the Philippines play the number ranked Rugby Nation in Asia Japan and it was always going to be a huge feat to knock of a team whose members all play professional Rugby. The Philippines came out and fought hard against a bigger, fitter and stronger Japanese squad. The Philippines went down in the Cup Final and can be extremely proud of their efforts for ranking No. 2 in the Asian Men’s 7s Championships.
Philippines Coach Matt Cullen was delighted with the Volcanoes efforts over the two day tournament and explained that “This was only the beginning of Filipino Rugby teams winning at these types of Championships. The Volcanoes have been on the cusp of greatness for the past two years and this tournament has proven that the Philippines can compete with the best teams in Asia. If this was the Asian games we would have won a silver medal for the Philippines. We will now win an invite to compete in the world renowned Hong Kong 7s next March and compete at the Olympic level. Just another challenge that the Volcanoes are ready to take in their stride as they keep breaking records on their path to glory.”
For the full results, visit: http://www.asian5nations.com/borneo-sevens
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