Botica covered 15 international 7s campaigns across 4 years as Head Coach
Team Philippines: Gold Medalists at the 2019 SEA Games
Philippine Rugby and the Volcanoes would like to thank Frano Botica, as he has recently announced he will step down as the head coach for the Men’s 7s program, a position he has held for the last four years.
A former New Zealand All Black, Botica presented Philippine Rugby with immense experience. Botica came onto the 7s scene in 2016 when the Volcanoes were ranked 10th in Asia. Twelve months later the Volcanoes secured a major partnership with Globe Telecom and set upon a pathway to get the national rugby team back into the top three, a position where they had previously tasted similar success from 2011 to 2013.
In 2017 the Volcanoes went on to win Gold at the Asia Trophy Series in Doha. The Volcanoes dominated the tournament winning all six games and defeating Thailand in the final. The result launched the Philippines back into the Top 8 teams in Asia and in that same year the Volcanoes finished as high as fifth, a remarkable increase in performance and rankings since the start of 2016.
In 2018 the Volcanoes continued to improve and was one of the most exciting years for the 7s program. The Volcanoes finished 3rd place in Asia and booked their ticket for World Rugby's prestigious World Series Qualifier (WSQ) held in Hong Kong, alongside the Hong Kong 7s. This was only the second time the Philippines had achieved this status. Not since 2012 had the Philippines returned to a similar stage.
The Volcanoes went one better than 2012 and finished in the Top 8, defeating Zimbabwe and eventually losing to Hong Kong in the quarter finals of the WSQ. The Volcanoes capped off a remarkable year of Sevens rugby bagging a Gold Medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Clark, going undefeated with six wins from six games under Botica’s leadership.
“Frano has played a pivotal role to the success of our 7s program, we thank him for all his expertise and knowledge and getting our team not only back to the Hong Kong Sevens arena, but also achieving a Gold medal finish in the 2019 SEA Games. He will surely be missed, we wish him all the best for his future and know wherever he goes, he will have a positive impact” said PRFU President, Rick Santos
“It’s great to see Frano finish on a high, when he advised me at the end of the SEA Games it would most likely be his last tournament I understood, it’s never easy spending a considerable amount of time away from loved ones, family and work. The last four years has been a special period for our men’s sevens program. Frano always saw we had a special talented group of players who could compete with the best, thankfully we got them together to play to a level where we knew they could win. We thank Frano, our entire coaching staff and all our players for playing an important role to where we are now” shared Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby.
Philippine Rugby are currently awaiting the confirmed international schedule for 2020. The Volcanoes are scheduled to play at the end August and throughout September across three legs in China, Korea and Sri Lanka. This is yet to be confirmed by Asia Rugby as all international competitions are on hold as COVID-19 continues to impact the entire sports industry.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union will await a confirmed schedule before any coaching applications open for the Men's 7s program.
Botica and Assistant Coach David Johnson
2017 Asia Trophy Series - Gold Medalists
2018 - 3rd Place overall in Asia, across three legs of the Asia Sevens Series
Botica leads a classroom session at Southern Plains Training Facility
PRFU President Rick Santos pictured with Frano Botica at the 2019 Globe Telecom Jersey Presentation
Jake Letts and Frano Botica reflecting on the 2017 Asia Trophy Series