HSBC and the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) announced the competition schedule for the HSBC Asian 5 Nations 2012 (HSBC A5N). This year marks the fifth year of the HSBC A5N, Asia’s premier international rugby competition, and the tournament is poised to chart new growth in the Game across the region from the elite level to the grassroots in 2012.
While all eyes will be on the Top 5, it will be Division 1 that kicks-off the action in 2012. The Philippines, one of the up and coming teams in Asian rugby, will host the tournament from April 15-21 in Manila. For the first time, the four teams – Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Singapore and the Philippines – will play a round-robin competition. This will give them an extra match with the objective of further preparing teams for promotion to the Top 5.
Philippines rugby is on a high after winning promotion last season and making its debut in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens this month. But watch out for Sri Lanka, led by former England international Phil Greening on a two-year coaching contract. They will be keen to win promotion back to the Top 5 after performing admirably last season. The other teams in Division 1 are Singapore and Chinese Taipei.
For more information on the Asian 5 Nations, visit www.asian5nations.com .
The matches will be played at Rizal Memorial Stadium on April 15, 18 and 21. Admission is free on April 15 & 18, but tickets will be sold for the April 21 games. Ticket prices are P 100, P 200, P 400 & P 800 and will be available for purchase through TicketWorld.
The Philippine matches will be telecast live by ABS-CBN.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union has named the 34-man squad that will train for the upcoming Asian 5 Nations Division 1 Championships to be held in Rizal Stadium, Manila on April 15-21, 2012.
For the third year in a row, the PRFU has selected a squad composed entirely of Filipino heritage players. Retained in the core group are a number of seasoned campaigners along with 5 debutants elevated to the national squad. These include forwards Mat Bellenie, James Neilson, Jake Ward and Steve Howorth along with utility player Brian West. Head Coach Expo Mejia feels confident he has the squad capable of winning the Division 1 Championships.
Mejia said, “It is never an easy thing to pick a national squad as you always leave behind quality players, but I feel this is the best combination we could come up with. We certainly have the depth to win Division 1 and the challenge will be to play 3 matches in 7 days.” Captain Michael Letts who has just finished the season with the Toyota team in Japan was excited by the influx of new talent. “It will certainly sharpen the competitive edge at training as we’ll all be fighting hard to grab a starting spot on the team,” remarked Letts.
Key players Gareth Holgate, Joven Clark, Fred Morris and Nick Pineda were all unavailable and veteran Josh Sutcliffe has recently announced his retirement from international rugby. “I would like to single out Josh for his tremendous loyalty and service to the Volcanoes over the years. He has had an outstanding career and is an inspiration to the entire squad both on and off the field,” said Coach Mejia.
The squad will assemble in Manila on Sunday April 8 to begin a weeklong training camp. The final squad of 24 players will be announced before the competition. The Volcanoes will face Singapore on April 15, Chinese Taipei on April 18 and Sri Lanka on April 21. Ticket information will be released shortly by the PRFU.
The Philippine National Men's 15s team has enjoyed much success since it began competing in the Asian 5 Nations -- Asia's premier Rugby Union Tournament. The team has managed to top its division and win promotion for three consecutive years, starting in Division 4 in 2008 and climbing to Division 1 in 2011. If the Volcanoes win Division 1, the Philippines will be promoted to the Elite Division in 2013 to compete with Rugby powerhouses Japan, Hong Kong. Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates. For more information on the Asian 5 Nations, visit http://asian5nations.com/
The 2012 Volcanoes A5N squad:
Phil Abraham, JC Bautista, Mat Bellenie, Terry Carroll, Austin Dacanay, Michael de Guzman, Michael Duhig, Kit Guerra, Chris Hitch, Chris Hettell, Steve Howorth, James Neilson, Tyler Perez, Nick Perry, Darran Seeto, Richard Taylor, Josh Tolentino, Jaime Urquijo, Jake Ward
Justin Coveney, Chris Everingham, Cleo Gomez, Jake Letts, Michael Letts, Joe Matthews, Luke Matthews, Jon Morales, Harry Morris, Patrice Olivier, James Price, Matt Saunders, Oliver Saunders, Kenny Stern, Brian West
Expo Mejia (Head Coach), Jarred Hodges (Assistant Coach), Matt Cullen (Manager), Damian Raper (Physiotherapist)
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