The Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU) Games were held last Monday and Tuesday, March 3-4, 2014, at University of Makati oval. This tournament marked the third time Touch Rugby was included in the association's calendar sports. Three women's teams and three men's teams competed for the champion title in their respective divisions.
In the men's division matches, it was host school University of Makati (UMAK) Herons and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) who battled it out for league supremacy. The rookie team Taguig City University (TCU) fought hard on all their games but were ultimately bested by the other teams' experience.
The finals match between UMAK and PLM was the highlight of the tournament. UMAK Herons, who had the home field advantage and the cheers from a predominantly UMAK crowd, made their presence felt early with a diving try just seconds after the kick off. PLM capitalized on a defensive error and made a break on the wing to score their first try of the game. It was a seesaw battle from then as both teams answered back try after try. A yellow card issued to a UMAK player gave PLM the chance to win the match but the UMAK boys' awesome defense prevented them from doing so. Full time ended and the score was still 4-4 draw. Extra time was needed to determine the winner of the match. A draw and pass to the wing 3 minutes into extra time gave the PLM boys the golden point they needed to secure the crown. Hats off to both team for playing well in the finals match.
In the ladies matches, University of Makati (UMAK) Herons and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) battled it out for the women’s title. The UMAK Lady Herons, led by three national team standouts, were undefeated in the round games. PLM had a draw in their round game against the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa (PLMun) but due to higher for-against quotient, they were able to secure their spot in the finals. The Lady Herons experience and teamwork gave them an advantage against the newly-formed PLM team. Despite this advantage, PLM still managed to score a try against UMAK. Match ended with a 6-1 win for the UMAK ladies. Good job to both teams for a well-fought match.
This tournament introduced Rugby's new “set and roll” rule. Traditionally, players put the ball on the ground and stepped over it upon being touched. Under the new rule, players had to kneel on one or both knees upon getting touched. Two handed touch below the chest level was also implemented plus the 'open play' option when ball is knocked back. The quick line out rule was also introduced in this year's games. This variation is more consistent with the rules of full contact rugby. All teams were able to adjust to the new rule and played fun, high-level games throughout the tournament.
ALCU Games is an annual event. PRFU's goals are to include more member schools in the rugby division and be able to play full contact rugby 7s matches in the future.
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