The Philippine Rugby Football Union in conjunction with BOSTIK kicked of 2012 year with the Bostik 10s league at Nomads Sports Club last Saturday, January 28th.
Tournament organiser, Matt Cullen commented that "It is amazing to think that just three years ago the PRFU only had four teams competing in the annual 10s league and now we see 11 teams competing in three divisions in an 8-week tournament."
Cup - Alabang Eagles, Cebu Dragons, Nomads
Plate - Alabang Ibons, Carabaos, MAAP Warriors, Manila Hapons
Bowl - Bison, Globe Immortals, Tarsiers, Vipers
Women's - Team GL, Team Nomads, Cebu Pink Dragons
Each of the four divisions reflects the level of competition and participation that has developed amongst the PRFU teams in the last two years of compeition. Most of the Cup players have represented the Philippines in either the Volcanoes or National Development Teams, the Plate Level being players who have played for the last 3 - 5 years and have a good experience of the game of Rugby Union, the Bowl level being made of of the four new Filipino teams from Rugby 101 that are now playing in their second PRFU league and showing signs that they to will produce players worthy of representing the Philippines in the sport of Rugby Union. The Women's division is also made of of a combination of National Team and Rugby 101 players and the PRFU are confident that the Women's league teams will continue to grow and develop in 2012
This year sees the first PRFU regional Rugby Union Tournament with the Cebu Dragons also participating in the Cup Division of the league for the first time. Cebu will travel to play in Manila on February 18th and then return to participate in the World Famous Manila 10s on the weekend of March 17/18th. Round one of the league pitted last years finalists and cross town rivals, the Alabang Eagles against the Nomads. This game was always going to be a fierce battle with both teams boasting a number of current and ex National Team players. Last year the Nomads were victorious over their younger opponents in both the PRFU 10s and 15s leagues and under new coach Phil "Stinger" Gittus, the Nomads were always going to play a traditional aggressive style of Rugby. The Alabang Eagles have also appointed a new coaching staff in 2012, with Dan Moutin and David Carman taking on the new roles and offering the younger Eagles a new focus and direction that has been lacking for the past couple of seasons.
The Cup game started at a blistering pace with both teams throwing everything into what would be the first of many games played between the two teams in 2012. The winner of this game would take an advantage into the finals and Manila 10s rugby tournament in March. The Eagles showed some very good composure and capitalized on two Nomads errors to score the first two tries. The Eagles were playing a dynamic game and ran at pace and were not afraid to use the ball wide to attack at the Nomads all over the field. The Nomads tried to use the basic style of attacking through the middle of the ruck but time and again the Eagles stood firm and turned over the Nomads attacking raids with some effective defence. Two of the current Philippine National Team players David Carman and Kit Guerra showed their youth, skill and passion and constantly put the Eagles in attacking positions with accurate passes and good support play and both led from the front and scored a try each in the first half of the match. The midfield combination of Tim Bheheni and Andrew Wolf were also in dominant form and constantly made ground to to place the Eagles on the front foot. The Eagles enjoyed the return of a former Fijian player Veve who was happy to move into the forwards and he certainly helped to lead the younger Eagles players to take on the bigger Nomads forward pack.
It was not until the second half that the Nomads started to control possession especially at the ruck/maul area and they started to roll the ball up the field, this did result in two second half tries and allowed the Nomads to regain some composure after the first half blitz by the younger Eagles. Coach Phil Gittus was not happy with the Nomads ball retention stating that "When we actually played to our gameplan of strong rucking and mauling through our forwards and actually held onto the ball, we looked like we could wear the Eagle pack down, unfortunately we dropeed to much ball". The Eagles ran away with the first win of the season by 38 - 12 and the Nomads will have to regrup over the next month to challenge the youthful team in the BOSTIK 10s finals on March 3rd.
The Plate games were dominated by the Nomad Carabaos who convincingly beat both the Manila Hapons (39 - 0) and Alabang Ibons (15 - 0) in the same afternoon. The MAAP Warriors were not available for the first round of the Bostik 10s league and will play in the remaining rounds on Feb 11th, 18th and the Finals on March 3rd. It was the elderly statesmen of the Carabaos who proved that age does come before beauty as they gave their younger opponents a lesson in how to play controlled aggressive Rugby.
The Carabaos were led from the front by ex National team front row player Paul Ingram who scored twice in the first half against the Hapons. The Carabaos proved to be to strong all over the field and Nomads shone with several strong runs upfield to set up many of the Carabaos attacking raids.
The Alabang Ibons beat the Hapons by 24 - 5 and the U20s National team combination of brothers Jovic and Jaypee Paypon were far to elusive for their opponents and continually made incisive runs that led to the Ibons scoring some great attacking tries.
In the Bowl Division the Globe Immortals turned up at Nomads at 2pm and started their extensive warm up routine, led by National team player Andrew Wolff. The Globe players were certainly well prepared for the first game of the BOSTIK 10s season and took no time in scoring against the Bison. Globe player Angelo Mayo was voted the Bowl player of the day which was quite amazing as he has only been playing rugby for three months and caught the eye of the National team Coach Matt Cullen, who commented on his skill and speed as he scored the opening two tries for Globe.
The second game of the Plate division proved to be the toughest battle of the day with the Vipers narrowly beating the Tarsiers by 5 - 0. The Tarsiers scored an early try and this was to then become an epic arm wrestle with neither team allowing their opponents any leverage, the score remained 5 - 0 until the fulltime whistle.
The 2nd round of the Bostik 10s is on February 11 at Nomad Sports Club.
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