ICYMI the Philippine Volcanoes Men’s rugby sevens team reached the podium in Korea recently after round 2 of the 2022 Asia Sevens Series. This weekend they return to competition to cap off the series in Al Ain, UAE.
The Philippine team became a highlight on day one after going two from three, most impressively defeating Japan, the most decorated and successful Asian Rugby team in history. In that fixture the Volcanoes scored two tries to one while adding in some desperate defence to hold the Japanese attack 12 to 5 in favour of the Philippines. A match winning turnover after a dominate tackle from Rafael Julian Phillips secured the Philippines first win over Japan in their 13 years. Another win over Malaysia later in the day secured the Philippines into the top four teams for the finals series.
Day two saw the Volcanoes up against defending champions Hong Kong for a spot in the gold medal match. Hong Kong proving too strong running away 17 points to 0. This result saw the Philippines play for the bronze in Asia, a feat last achieved in 2018. The third place playoff came against Sri Lanka, a team who also played strongly leading up to this fixture, however it was the Volcanoes who ran away victorious 24 to 7.
“It’s a huge step in the right direction for our program, we aim to be consistently in the top 3 of Asia and this is a great result. It is a testament to the hard work and preparation that our team has been putting in on and off the field under our Coach Darryl Suasua. We look forward to the next tournament and trying to do even better this weekend in UAE. We are back in training prepping for what looks to be another competitive weekend of rugby 7s” shares Co-Captain Kai Ledesma Stroem.
The Korea 7s results will go down as a special milestone for Philippine Rugby, not only beating Japan for the first time in their history, but once again taking home a bronze medal in Asia against the regions best, a combined double feat yet to be achieved for the Union. This weekend sees a bigger challenge, traveling to UAE to face the same eight teams on on a different turf. The team will be boosted by some additional recruits to help strengthen the squad and to also aim to perform at their best once again.
“This weekend will be extremely tough in hot conditions, hopefully we can execute and be accurate, and prove once again the Philippine Team can perform at the highest level in Asia” added Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby.
The national women’s team will also travel and play in UAE, the team finished in seventh place in Korea after a dominant win over Malaysia 19 to 0 in their final match.
The squad looks to progress through the rankings each tournament to hold their position in the top division of women’s rugby in Asia. The Volcanoes were promoted from Division 2 after the 2019 Asia Trophy Series and are now being exposed to Olympic standards of rugby when they face experienced teams against the likes of China and Japan on a more regular basis. The aim of the program to continually improve and remain a core team in the Asia Sevens Series.
"The women's program is improving with each game, this weekend the girls will have another opportunity to play top level teams in Asia to see how best we can compete. Coach Taua'a and Brown have been preparing the girls all week for what looks to be another competitive weekend" added Letts.
This week the women's will face China, Thailand and Sri Lanka in Pool B. Whilst the men's have drawn UAE, Japan and Korea also in Pool B.
Round 3 of the Asia Sevens three leg series will be played in Al Ain on November 26 and 27. For more information contact Philippine Rugby via their website. All matches are streamed live via Facebook.
Philippine Rugby would like to thank the direct program support from the Philippine Sports Commission, Globe Telecom, JML Philippines, Pillar Sports and Fitness First.
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