The inaugural Philippine Women’s Invitational Rugby Tournament was held last Saturday, August 3, at Southern Plains field Laguna. Three women’s teams played 7s and 10s matches, with the team with the most number of wins at the end of the day declared the overall champion. Manila Mayhem, Cebu Lady Dragons, and the National University of Singapore Rugby Team all came to the venue, prepared to prove they are the best women’s team in the tournament. The boys of Asian Youth Games under 17s national team also served as a guest team for the morning 7s matches, in preparation for their Nanjing, China 7s tournament in 2 weeks.
SEVENS MATCHESMayhem's Nikki Lira proved to be handful for the NUS defence
Sevens matches kicked off at 11 am with a match between the Lady Dragons and the AYG. It was a tough battle as the faster boys used their outstanding speed to breakaway and score tries. The boys proved to be too fast for the ladies. Nevertheless, the girls played all out. Still, the game ended at 50-0 (W-AYG). Second match saw the battle between the visitors from SG and the host team of the tournament, Manila Mayhem. Mayhem used their improved defensive line, which resulted to turnovers from the visitors. This enabled Mayhem to control the possession majority of the match and using their quick passing, they were able to score tries due to overlaps and awesome speed on the wing. Game ended at 29-0 (W- Mayhem).
Cebu's Medea Mercado tackles a bigger Mayhem player
Third match was between the SG girls and the AYG boys. Again, the boys proved to be too fast for the girls as they outran everyone and scored try after try. Final score was 48-0 (W-AYG). Local rivals Manila Mayhem and Cebu Lady Dragons faced off in the fourth match. Mayhem dominated the first half, with a try from the wing and another one just before the half time break. The Lady Dragons regrouped at the break and gained momentum as their forwards broke through the defensive line several times. Back to back tries were awarded for the Lady Dragons as they showed a combination of speed and power plus great support play. Mayhem took advantage of a penalty against the opponent in the last few minutes of the match and scored a much needed try to put enough separation on the scores. Game ended at 19-12 (W-Mayhem).
Cebu's Tonette Gambito scored a breakaway try against SG
The Lady Dragons bounced back from that loss and won their succeeding match. They scored 5 tries, most of them from breakaways and wrap passes, against NUS’ 3 tries. Two of their tries were converted. Final score was 29-10 (W-Lady Dragons). The last match for the morning 7s games was between the undefeated teams AYG and Mayhem. It was a tight first half but injuries to Mayhem’s players proved vital as the boys took advantage of the substitute players’ inexperience and scored a series of unanswered tries that led to the final score, 33-0 (W-AYG).
TENS MATCHESMayhem's Aye Honoras fends off a SG player
The first 10s match of the day was between Manila Mayhem and NUS. The SG girls got the momentum on the first half when one of Mayhem’s core players got injured and had to be replaced. They proved they have more experience in 10s as they took advantage of Mayhem’s disorganized defense and lack of a sweeper. They kicked the ball down field several times, allowing them to gain territory majority of the half. Mayhem was able to regroup and came back more organized with their structure in the second half. They found their rhythm and scored 3 unanswered tries, all from counter attacks from errors of SG. The match ended with a score of 15-0 (W-Mayhem).
The second 10s match of the day was between NUS and the Lady Dragons. The Cebu girls were all over the place as they did not really have a chance to practice 10s as they focused on the 7s games. SG, on the other hand, had incredible teamwork and fast hands that led to 2 breakaways on the wing. The Lady Dragons were still able to score a try in the last few seconds of the game off a beautiful setup play to the wing. Match ended with a close score of 10-7 (W-NUS).Cebu captain Aiumi Ono led the Lady Dragons' attack
The best match of the whole tournament was definitely the classic showdown between the north and south ladies. Both teams were pumped up to play and prove they are the best 10s team in the country. The Lady Dragons were seeking pay back. Mayhem wants validation. Newbies from both teams played like veterans while the veterans used their experience to inspire their newbies. The rain and shine weather did not stop both teams from playing all out. It was a defensive battle as both teams were defending ruck after ruck. Both forwards’ sides worked hard to gain yards. The first half ended with a precarious 5-0 lead for Mayhem from a winger’s try.
Mayhem's Acee San Juan scores the match winning try
The Lady Dragons answered back early in the second half with their own version of a winger’s try. It was a back and forth rat race to the try line as both teams has incredible defence. With seconds winding down, Mayhem patiently controlled possession through crash balls from their forwards. A gap on Cebu’s defensive line was quickly taken advantage by Mayhem. The match winning try for the Manila ladies was from a ruck less than 5 meters from the line. Final score was 10-5 (W-Mayhem).
With that win, Manila Mayhem was awarded the overall champion of the first ever Philippine Women’s Invitational Rugby Tournament. It was a great day of women’s rugby and a huge boost to women’s rugby development here in the country. Most of these girls are vying for spots in the Lady Volcanoes 7s and 15s teams. Thank you to all the teams who participated and congratulations to Manila Mayhem for being the overall the champion of the tournament.
AYG (50) vs Cebu Lady Dragons (0)
Manila Mayhem (29) vs NUS (0)
NUS (0) vs AYG (48)
Cebu Lady Dragons (12) vs Manila Mayhem (19)
NUS (10) vs Cebu Lady Dragons (29)
Manila Mayhem (0) vs AYG (33)
Manila Mayhem (15) vs NUS (0)
NUS (10) vs Cebu Lady Dragons (7)
Cebu Lady Dragons (5) vs Manila Mayhem (10)
All photos on this page by Chris Hettel
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