The Philippine Volcanoes, National Men’s Rugby Sevens team, are in the thick of preparations for the country’s debut in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia later this month.
The Volcanoes’ have spent most of the past month sequestered at their camp in Laguna under former USA Rugby coach, Al Caravelli. Their grueling regimen is said to include three training sessions per day, strict dietary requirements, classroom and video sessions.
Composed of veterans and a few new faces, the original squad of 23 has been cut down to 14, with the final team of 12 players is scheduled to be selected on June 19. The Volcanoes will travel to Moscow, Russia on June 23 in time for the tournament which runs from June 28 to 30.
“The players are growing individually & as a team by leaps & bounds.” says Caravelli. “While we are still very new to international Rugby we are learning every day & continuously improving.”
The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the premier Rugby Sevens tournament featuring the top 24 teams in the world. The Philippines, along with Japan and Hong Kong are the only three Asian countries in the competition. The Volcanoes, who clinched a spot in the RWC7s by defeating South Korea at the qualifying tournament held in November 2012, are in Pool C with Zimbabwe, Kenya and Samoa.
On their goals for the tournament, Caravelli shares, “We want to improve from our last international showing from qualifying in November for the RWC7s & the Hong Kong Sevens in 2012. We have never played Kenya, they are a quality team, very fit & strong & well coached. Samoa finished 4th in the series last year. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe beat us on the last play of the game in Hong Kong. So our eyes wide open, focused on our performance & improving in all aspects of our game. We want the Philippine nation & all Pinoys to be proud of our effort regardless of the final score line.”
Sevens Rugby, which plays seven men per team on the field, is a faster, more exciting version of Rugby Union which plays 15 men per side. It is also the version of Rugby played in the South East Asian Games and Asian Games. Rugby Sevens will make its debut as an official sport in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
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