The Philippine National Ladies Rugby Union Team emphatically won the Asian Rugby Ladies championships in Guangzhou, China by defeating India, Korea, Laos and Malaysia to claim the ladies B Division trophy. The tournament was held at the stadium which will host the Asian Games this November and it was the first time that the Philippines has competed in an Asian Championships in ladies Rugby 7s. The team consisted of Filipino players from Manila, Cebu, Bataan, Australia, USA and Canada and arrived in Guangzhou not knowing how they would fare in their first International Rugby Tournament. To everyone’s amazement the Philippines quickly stamped their authority on the tournament and the team started to turn heads when they defeated India by 17 - 0. The Indian team are all in a professional training camp to prepare for the Commonwealth and Asian Games later this year and were the favorites to win the B Division tournament.
The victory over India then paved the way for the Philippines to storm through the tournament beating all teams before them and amassing 110 points and having none scored against them. Team Captains Jackie Finlan and Rosie Rough, both from the Lions Rugby Club in New York led the way and showed the younger less experienced Filipino players how to attack and defend in the International Arena. The Filipino based players rose to the challenge and really followed orders to combine to beat one of the Asian powerhouses in sport and Rugby Union, Korea, by 33 to 0. Trixie Pacis and Bela Silva combined to score two tries and were well supported by the team speedsters Nikki Lira and Aiumi Ono who also scored tries to seal the quarter final victory.
The Semi final was played against Laos, who currently hold the Bronze medal in Ladies 7s from the SEA Games. This did not deter the focused Filipino team who grew in confidence with each win. it was Manila Santos and Alana Padilla who displayed aggressive defensive techniques to quash the Laos attack and this allowed Rosie Rough to storm away and score three unanswered tries. The Philippines realized that they had made the final without conceding a single try in the round games. Coach Matt Cullen had stated earlier “Defence wins championships”.
The team then focused on meeting a formidable team from Malaysia in the Final of the Asian Ladies Div. B Tournament. In front of a large crowd in the 40 000 seat stadium the Philippines ran out to play their first final in their very first appearance at an International event. It was the elusive running from Aumi Ono who ran wide to score the opening try of the game and the Philippines never looked back. Team Captains Jackie Finlan and Rosie Rough both scored tries and Rosie Rough was able to convert three tries to win the game by 20 to 0. The Philippines National Ladies 7’s team had accumulated 110 points and did not have a single point scored against them,a feat that has not been matched by any other team.Even the Philippine National Men’s teams cannot claim to have played at an International 7s tournament and not conceded points. The victory places the Philippines National Ladies 7’s team in the top 8 countries in Asia and they have proven that the Philippines can play Ladies Rugby by defeating four established teams who have been playing ladies rugby for the past five years.
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