The Philippine Volcanoes Men’s Rugby 7s team has beaten all the odds by winning the Silver Medal at the 2011 Asian Men’s Rugby 7s Championships.
The Philippines entered the tournament ranked 7th and beat Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates in the Pool matches, heading into the Quarter Finals.
Day 2 started for the Volcanoes with an emphatic win over the home favorites, Malaysia in a heated contest between the South East Asia rivals.
The final score saw the Philippines win by 28 – 14. The game was played with intensity from both sides and it was the “Flying Jeepney" Justin Coveney who opened the scoring for the Volcanoes. Matt Saunders then scored the Philippines next try to even the game at 14 – 14 at the halftime break. The same players reversed the try scoring efforts in the second half and the Philippines knocked out Malaysia in front of their home crowd to move to a Semi Final against the powerhouse sporting nation, China.
The Philippines had never beaten China on the four occasions that the teams met in the Rugby 7s Asian Championships in 2010 and 2011.
The Philippines knew they had to combat the Chinese speed and injected Luke Matthews into the starting lineup to add some pace to the outside backs. This tactic proved its worth immediately with Luke Matthews scoring the first try for the Philippines. The Chinese team replied with two first half tries and went to the halftime break with a 14 – 7 lead. The game hung in the balance until the Harry Morris broke through some weak Chinese defense to score the equalizer just before fulltime. The game finished in a 14 all draw and the quarter final entered extra time with a golden point rule to win.
The Philippines looked confident heading into the overtime period and Joe Matthews was able to break away and score a try under the posts to secure a remarkable win and put the Volcanoes in their first ever Cup Final at the Asian Championships.
The Asian Men’s Championships is played by the top 12 Rugby Nations in Asia and can be compared to playing in the Asian Games. It was a remarkable feat by the Philippines to make the Cup Final and they had defeated Kazakhstan, UAE, Malaysia and China on their victorious road to success.
The Final saw the Philippines play the number ranked Rugby Nation in Asia Japan and it was always going to be a huge feat to knock of a team whose members all play professional Rugby. The Philippines came out and fought hard against a bigger, fitter and stronger Japanese squad. The Philippines went down in the Cup Final and can be extremely proud of their efforts for ranking No. 2 in the Asian Men’s 7s Championships.
Philippines Coach Matt Cullen was delighted with the Volcanoes efforts over the two day tournament and explained that “This was only the beginning of Filipino Rugby teams winning at these types of Championships. The Volcanoes have been on the cusp of greatness for the past two years and this tournament has proven that the Philippines can compete with the best teams in Asia. If this was the Asian games we would have won a silver medal for the Philippines. We will now win an invite to compete in the world renowned Hong Kong 7s next March and compete at the Olympic level. Just another challenge that the Volcanoes are ready to take in their stride as they keep breaking records on their path to glory.”
For the full results, visit: http://www.asian5nations.com/borneo-sevens
The Philippine Volcanoes came out of the first day of the second leg of the Asian 7s Series in Borneo with two wins and one loss.
Game 1 - Japan
The day started with the Volcanoes taking on the number one Asian Rugby Nation, Japan. The Volcanoes began the game with strongman Chris Hitch breaking through the Japanese defense and running 70 meters to start the day for the Volcanoes on a positive note. Japan then capitalized on some simple errors by the Philippines in their own half and quickly scored three consecutive tries. Vice Captain, Oliver Saunders then replied with a strong try to keep the Philippines alive at halftime, with Japan leading 17 - 12. Japan showed why they are ranked number one in Asia in the second half as they scored three more tries while the Philippines though Harry Morris managed only one try. The Volcanoes did not play to their potential and all agreed a better effort would be needed in the upcoming games to ensure a top four placing at the championships. Justin Coveney "The Flying Jeepney" was awarded the Volcanoes MVP for the first game.
Game 2 - Kazakhstan
The second game saw the Philippines up against Kazakhstan who, just last month, had defeated the Philippines to nab a top four position in the Shanghai Sevens Tournament. The Volcanoes were intent on revenge and it was Philippine team newcomer Joe Matthews who opened with a great individual run where he was tackled on the line to score. However, it seemed like this positive start put the Philippines to sleep as they allowed the Kazakhs to come back into the game and score three unanswered tries to take a 19 - 5 lead at the end of the first half. During the halftime break, Volcanoes Captain Jake Letts rallied his teammates and asked them to keep their composure under pressure in the second half as he could see the Kazakhstan team starting to tire in the 40 degree humid conditions. The Philippines Captain was correct and the Volcanoes came out with Joe Matthews scoring his second try of the match, followed by his younger brother, Luke who scored to even the game at 19 - 19.
The Philippines realized that a draw would be good enough and somehow lifted their game in the last play to find the" Iceman" Chris Hitch unmarked out wide on the wing to score the winning try of the match. This set the scene for a showdown between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates in the last game of the day, with both teams sitting with one win and one loss, this game would decide who would enter the top 8 teams for the finals on Sunday. The Philippines MVP for the second match was awarded to Luke Matthews.
Game 3 - United Arab Emirates
National Team Coach, Matt Cullen observed that the Philippines had played to only about 80% of their potential in the first two games of the day. Coach Cullen knew that the team would have to step up for the last game against the UAE who are ranked among the top five nations in Asia. The Philippines came out with firing and scored the first two tries through Joe Matthews and Matt Saunders, unfortunately both tries were scored out wide and both conversions were missed. This allowed the strong UAE team to fight back and score a try under the posts just before halftime to bring the score back to 10 - 7. The Philippines showed good skills in the second half and substitute Luke Matthews was again injected into the game which resulted in a try, which gave the Philippine a commanding 22 - 7 lead. The Volcanoes saved their best game for last and went onto to win the game by 22 - 14. . The MVP for the third match was split between Joe Matthews and Chris Hitch.
The wins versus Kazakhstan and UAE put the Philippines up against the home favourites, Malaysia in a quarter final battle with the winner of this game moving up to the Cup Division Finals and guaranteed a top 4 placing at the Asian Championships
Coach Matt Cullen was very happy with the Volcanoes efforts on the first day of the competition and applauded the heroic efforts of several players who put their bodies on the line to make try saving tackles and display the never give up attitude that the Volcanoes are renowned for, he explained that " We did not play the most exciting 7s Rugby today, but we worked extremely hard in defense and were able to improve with every game and finally showed some quality 7s skills in the final game. This will be a positive way to enter tomorrow’s crucial match against Malaysia."
Front L-R: Eric Tai, Jake Letts (C), Chris Everingham, Joe Matthews, Luke Matthews, Oliver Saunders Top: Matt Cullen (Coach) Matty Saunders, Andrew Wolff, Harry Morris, Justin Coveney, Chris Hitch, Mark Chatting, Noel Flowers (Manager/Asst. Coach)
The Philippine Volcanoes will travel to Kota Kinabalu this today, September 22, to compete in the second leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, which will see the top twelve nations in Asia do battle for the right to play in the world famous Hong Kong 7s in March 2012. The Volcanoes ranked 7th in the 1st leg of the championships which were played in Shanghai last month which was a little disappointing considering they defeated the eventual winners, Korea 19 to 14. The Volcanoes showed that they can win at the top levels in Asia and defeated the United Emirates, Korea and Thailand in a competitive weekend of top
The Volcanoes have made some positive changes to the squad who will compete in this weekend's Borneo Sevens by recruiting four top-level Filipino players from Australia. Coach Matt Cullen explained “These players will definitely help in
breaking into the top four teams in Borneo and they are all playing top level Rugby in Australia. To win at this level you need 12 strong players and the new recruits will give the Philippines the much needed impact off the bench to compete against the best teams in Asia.”
As it stands, the Philippines are due to play United Japan, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates before qualifying for the finals on Sunday in Borneo. The team has been preparing all week in a training camp in Manila and are feeling very confident that they can break into the winners circle this weekend. Team captain, Jake Letts is very upbeat about the tournament and has challenged the team to play to their maximum potential to achieve their goal of a top four finish at the tournament.
The Borneo 7s will be the last major tournament for the Philippine Volcanoes Men's team in 2011 and they have had another successful year by winning five out of eight International matches. The National Under 20s or JuniorVolcanoes will compete in December when the Philippine Rugby Football Union hosts the Asian Under 20s Championships in Manila.
Everything at stake in final ranking event of HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011
The pools for the Borneo Sevens, the second event on the inaugural HSBC Asian Sevens Series, were drawn today in Malaysia.
The Borneo Sevens will be played this weekend at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
The seeding for the Borneo Sevens is based on the results of last month’s Shanghai Sevens. The Borneo Sevens 2011 features 12 premier Asian teams drawn into three pools of four teams each.
Korea, the winners of the Shanghai Sevens, the inaugural event on the new HSBC Asian Sevens Series (HSBC A7S), are the top seeds for Borneo in Pool A. Hong Kong, defending Borneo champions and beaten Cup finalists in Shanghai, are seeded at the top of Pool B. Japan, the third-ranked team on this year’s HSBC AsianSevens Series, tops Pool C.
Pool A: Korea, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka
Pool B: Kong Kong, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, Brunei
Pool C: Japan, Kazahkstan, Philippines, United Arab Emirates
Each team will play a round-robin competition within their pools on day one in Borneo. Day two will see straight knock-out matches to determine the final rankings for the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011. The top finishing teams will be in a strong position to qualify for invitation to the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens inMarch 2012.
Mukhtar Hussain, CEO HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad and Global CEO HSBC Amanah, said: "The Borneo Sevens is the final ranking event in this year's HSBC Asian Sevens Series, so the stakes are high this weekend and we can expect exciting clashes between the best national teams from across the region.
While Korea remain the undisputed champions of the Shanghai Sevens, winning three consecutive titles including last month’s sudden-death win over Hong Kong in the Cup final, Japan and Hong Kong have been the dominant teams in Borneo over the past two years.
Japan won the inaugural tournament played in 2009, beating Hong Kong in the final. Last year, Hong Kong earned its revenge, pipping the Japanese 31-28 in a rain-sodden final. En route to last year’s Cup final, Hong Kong demolished Korea 43-0 in the semi-finals. It is a performance that the defending champions will be hoping torepeat after the bitter disappointment of their extra-time loss to Korea in Shanghai.
Rugby sevens is growing in popularity around the world following its inclusion in the 2016 Olympics. HSBC’s title sponsorship of the Asian Sevens Series runs from 2011 to 2013. From two ranking tournaments in 2011, the HSBC Asian Sevens Series will grow to three ranking tournaments by 2012 and ultimately to all fourevents being ranking tournaments by 2013.
The PRFU CBRE Juniors Tournament kicked off last Saturday September 10 with up to 120 junior players attending the competition at the British School Manila. After a long summer break it was fantastic to see the children back on the field playing touch rugby (Under 6 to Under 14 years old) and then watching the National team trials for the U/14 and U/16 Philippine Boys teams.
This round of games saw the inclusion of the newly formed U/6s division with a number of excited parents supporting the little ones and assisting them to learn touch rugby. The day also introduced the classic encounter Fathers vs. Sons game with the Dad’s holding out for two draws 5-5 and 3-3 in the first competition of the year.
The inaugural Philippine National U/14 and U/16 teams will travel to play International games against Hong Kong on the weekend of November 5 and 6. These National teams have been selected from the various schools, clubs and foundations that participate in the monthly CBRE Juniors tournament and they are currently training every Saturday to prepare for what will be a great weekend tour to play Hong Kong.
PRFU coach Matt Cullen is excited about selecting and sending the first Philippine National Underage teams to play Hong Kong and explained that the sport of Rugby Union is a game for everyone. “We have players from all walks of life, some boys have selected from the PRFU Foundations program, some from Clubs and finally some from schools.”
As the sport of Rugby grows in popularity in the Philippines so will the CBRE Juniors competitions and this will set up for Rugby Union to be the next growth sport in the Philippines. If 6 year olds can play touch rugby then what will happen when they turn 14 and 15, they will want to play tackle rugby and play for their country.
The next round of the CBRE Juniors league will be played at Nomads Sports complex on the morning of Saturday October 8.
All teams and players are welcome to join a juniors club and you can contact the PRFU office to find out where you can start to learn Rugby Union.
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