February 2016. The Junior Volcanoes Under-16 and Under-14 teams won trophies in the Bangkok Asian Juniors championships.
The U16 Volcanoes won the Cup Division championships, defeating Malaysia in the final, 3-0, after sweeping the preliminaries.
Josh Aho and Reed Santos shone for the U16 side and coach Paul Retzlaff was pleased to see the squad play solid defense, noting the team conceded only two tries in six games.
“Defense wins championships and the Junior Volcanoes proved this,” said Retzlaff.
The Philippine U14 squad beat Thailand in the Plate Final, 19-10, with Keanu Faynot scoring two tries and Rand Santos kicking 3 conversions. The U14 Volcanoes wound up with four wins, a loss and a draw.
“Both the National U14 and U16 showed they can match it with the best teams in South East Asia… This was our first time to play in this tournament and we have certainly left a mark by winning in both divisions,” said Philippnie Rugby Football Union Director of Rugby Matt Cullen.
The tournament featured teams from Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.
The Philippine Volcanoes finished second overall in the 2016 Asia Rugby tournament held over two legs in Chennai India, and Al Ain Dubai over the weekend.
The Volcanoes performed strongly throughout the tournament series, recording 9 wins over the two legs, posting victories over Thailand, UAE, Lebanon, India, Syria, Iran and Nepal.
“It was a positive result for the Volcanoes to achieve silver in the tournament in Asia," said team captain Justin Coveney. "The playing conditions and schedule in both Chennai and Al Ain were gruelling and challenging, yet the players were able to persevere and improve with each game, we look forward to rebuilding and going one better next year.”
Amongst the best for the Volcanoes were Sean Celeda Lynch and Jonico Ater Hardwick both crossing the line 14 and 15 tries each, respectively – the highest of any national team. Veteran Gareth Dela Rosa Holgate also contributed strongly with his clinical conversation tally.
This tournament acts as another stepping stone for the Volcanoes to prepare for the official 2017 SEA Games to be held in Malaysia.The Volcanoes will be looking to defend their gold medal in April at the South East Asia 7’s in Singapore.
The Volcanoes will be seeded against the top teams in South East Asia playing alongside Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
A back-to-back gold medal will be targeted to ensure Philippine Rugby stays number one in South East Asia.
The Volcanoes will also play in the 15 a side rugby code, the more traditional version of the game at the Asia Rugby Championships on May 8, 11 and 14 in Kuala Lumpur.
The national team has a strong history in this format being crowned Division 4, Division 3, Division 2 and Division 1 champions in successive years. They are looking to reclaim the Division 1 title in 2016.
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