The Philippine National U20s rugby team travel to Johor Bahru, Malaysia this weekend to compete in the first round of the U20s Asian Seven's Series.
The Junior Volcanoes have been based in a high performance training camp since Saturday under the leadership of current Men's Volcano Jake Robrigado Letts and David Johnston. It will be the Volcanoes first appearance on this stage since 2012 as it prepares to look to the future to recruit, develop and train the next batch of emerging Volcanoes.
"It's been a very positive week, the team has trained very well and come a long way in the space of six days. These players are the future and it's exciting to see the talent both here locally in the Philippines and abroad" says Coach and current Men's Volcano Jake Letts.
The Junior Volcanoes will be lead by Captains Kai Ledesma Stroem and Rhys Jacob Mackley who have both gained valuable experience playing on the international stage in the Men's Asian Seven's Series earlier this year.
"The team will approach the games this weekend with a positive attitude and stick together, the results will then fall in our favour. It's been a tough but rewarding week with a long training camp but now it's all down to bringing everything together at the right time and hopefully coming out with some wins" adds Team Captain Stroem.
The Volcanoes have drawn a tough pool against heavy weights Japan and Sri Lanka up first followed by Thailand and UAE. The youth in the Volcanoes team favors the Philippines as both Letts and Johnston have selected six players at the age of 18 to compete at this level.
"Dave and I have selected a young team, this team will gain valuable experience both now and in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing these players develop and grow together as a core group of young Volcanoes where in two years time they will be well suited to playing both at an U20s level and more so graduate to a Men's level" added Letts.
The Philippine Volcanoes bursted onto the Asian Seven's Series back in 2009 and have since represented Asia both at the Hong Kong International Seven's and at the 7s Rugby World Cup in 2013. With the inclusion of Rugby 7s in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games rugby in Asia is expected to gain even more popularity as Japan has been rewarded as the host nation of both the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games in 2020.
Venue: MPPG Sports Ground, Pasir Gudang, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Game 1: Philippines vs Sri Lanka - 10:06 AM
Game 2: Philippines vs Japan - 12:22 PM
Game 3: Philippines vs Thailand - 03:22 PM
Game 4: Philippines vs UAE - 15:38 PM
Dixie Star Yu with the offload in the final of the Cebu All Ladies International 10s. Yu was at her best and gained MVP honors for the tournament
After failing to win the coveted title in the first two editions, the Cebu Lady Dragons finally got it in its third attempt after winning it all in the 3rd International All Ladies Rugby Festival at the Cebu International School (CIS) pitch yesterday.
The Lady Dragons went unbeaten the whole tournament and crushed the Philippine Lady Volcanoes-laden Manila Mayhem in the Cup final, 10-0.
“I'm very happy. When I heard the whistle I jumped for joy,” Lady Dragons skipper Dixie Yu said with a smile along mix of sweat and grass on her face. “It was a great win because our team has only three players from the national team, while half of their team is composed of players from the national team.”
Aiumi Ono, one of the Lady Dragons' Philippine Lady Volcano players, gave her team the early lead, 5-0, scoring with a quick try with last than a minute in regulation. She, however, missed her conversion. The Lady Dragons showed impressive defense that forced the Mayhem to just push a few yards but never threatened to score.
Yu, another national team player, ran past the Mayhem defense and scored a second try for the Lady Dragons for a 10-0 lead. She would also miss her conversion.
In the second half, the Lady Dragons got most of the possessions, and would hold the Mayhem to another scoreless half for the victory. The Lady Dragons finished at the top in the elimination round with 13 points from four wins and a draw, while the Mayhem ended up third in the eliminations with three wins, a draw and a loss.
The Lady Dragons earned a slot in the Cup Finals after a 15-5 win over CWB Phoenix, while the Mayhem got its ticket with a 31-0 upset over NTU Singapore.
NTU Singapore settled for third with a 7-1 win over CWB Phoenix.
The Lady Dragons and the Mayhem fought to a scoreless draw in the elimination round. But in their rematch, the Lady Dragons adjusted and finally kept their composure.
“We didn't switch on them. We had a lot of things in our minds in our first meeting. We were too excited and didn't stick to our structure,” said Yu.
The Lady Dragons finished first runner-up in the inaugural tournament and then ended up fourth last year.
“We really had chemistry and we played with a lot of heart.”
The PRFU would like to thank outgoing PSC Commissioner Jolly Gomez for his steadfast support for the development of Rugby in the Philippines.
Jolly played an integral role in placing regional coaches across the Philippines to grow the game at the grassroots level. Through his efforts, both the Men's and Women's National Rugby teams received the support which enabled them to train and compete in the Asian 7s Series, the Asian Games and most recently, the 2015 South East Asian Games.
As a result through his support and the support of the Department of Education, PRFU senior development officer Rose Mae Lanticse and regional development officer Blessie Kate Delos Santos are able to conduct a two day World Rugby accredited coaching program under the Get Into Rugby (GIR) program this 2nd and 3rd of July
Thank you, Jolly for all your contributions and your belief in the PRFU. The Philippine Rugby community wishes you all the best in your future endeavours.
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