The Philippine Lady Volcanoes Rugby Development Seven’s team will travel to China for an invitational tournament on Oct 27-28.
After winning the Bowl Division at the Rugby World Cup Qualifier in India a few weeks back, the team demonstrated a level of rugby that earned them a last minute invite to the 2012 Guangzhou Zhengcheng International Women Invitational Rugby Sevens. Some of the top teams from around the world are competing including Singapore, USA, Thailand, South Africa, Kazakhstan, and two China sides.
The team is proudly representing the Philippines with an all local squad from Manila and Cebu, many of whom competed in India. Ada Milby has been named captain for the upcoming tour and Nikki Lira, vice captain. Coach Dean Baker, from Cebu, will be leading the charge with a new and improved plan to help step up the level of play and allow the women to be more competitive this tournament. His many years of experience as a rugby player in New Zealand and abroad is a welcome asset to the team.
The Philippines will play against China, Singapore and USA on Sat, Oct 27.
The games will also be available for streaming via internet.
Lady Volcanoes 2012 China Invitational Development Squad:
Ada Milby (Captain)
Blessie De los Santos
Nikki Lira (Vice Captain)
Acee San Juan
Dean Baker (Coach)
Rose Mae Lanticse (Manager)
Paula Tomas (Physiotherapist)
The Philippine Volcanoes Rugby team will travel to Singapore to participate in the Rugby World Cup 7s Qualifiers on Nov 2-3. The team goes into the tournament on the back of some solid performances in the lead up tournaments, most notably, a win over the highly-ranked South Korean team in their final game of the recently-concluded Mumbai Sevens. The Volcanoes are ranked 6th going into the Singapore tournament and must finish in the top 3 if they are to progress to the World Cup in Moscow in 2013.
The Volcanoes have been boosted by the return of some of their players who are currently contracted to professional teams in the Japanese Top League. Oliver and Matt Saunders, Patrice Olivier and Gaz Holgate will all be present in Singapore along with the return of Ben Saunders who has just come off contract with a professional club in Sydney.
Andrew Wolff (photo: Mumbai 7s)
Included in the squad are Andrew Wolff and Tim Bweheni, 2 players who play in the local Filipino league, and are being rewarded for their outstanding performances this year.
New coach Al Caravelli is confident of a top 3 finish even if the results so far this year have been a little shy of the mark. His insistence on getting the process right is starting to pay off with the team improving at each outing.
Volcanoes 7s captain Harry Morris is happy with the mixture of experience and youth in the squad saying that this team is fully capable of qualifying for the World Cup if we play to our true potential.
Philippine Volcanoes Rugby World Cup 7s Qualifiers Squad:
Tim Bweheni (Alabang Eagles, Philippines)
Ryan Clarke (Canley Vale Cub, Sydney)
Gaz Holgate (Kyuden Rugby Club, Japan)
Joe Matthews (Wests Rugby Cub, Canberra)
Luke Matthews (Wests Rugby Club, Canberra)
Harry Morris (Rosslyn Park, England)
Patrice Olivier (Yamaha Rugby Club, Japan)
Kenny Stern (Gordon Rugby Club, Sydney)
Ben Saunders (Wests Tigers, Sydney)
Matt Saunders (NTT Communications, Japan)
Oli Saunders (NTT Communications, Japan)
Andrew Wolff (Alabang Eagles, Philippines)
Al Caravelli (Coach)
Expo Mejia (Manager)
Enrico Barin (Physiotherapist)
The Volcanoes have fond memories of their last trip to India when they took the Division 2 Asian 5 Nations crown against India, China and Thailand back in 2010, one of their conquests in their climb to the A5N Premier Division of 15s rugby. They arrived in Mumbai to partciaipate in the Mumbai Sevens at the Bombay Gymkhana - perhaps best described as Mumbai's version of the Manila Polo Club
On Saturday, October 13, the Volcanoes started sharply against a Singapore team who were targetting this match to try to qualify for the Cup section of the competition. After conceding an early try the Volcanoes regained their composure and defensive structure to end with a comfortable victory, 33 - 12. Ryan Clarke, now used to the internatonal stage after his experience in Shanghai, crossed twice and Ken Stern, Tim Bweheni and Andrew Wolff also scored tries. This was Bweheni's debut for the Volcanoes and his long wait (delayed by a dislocated shoulder) confirmed the selectors' faith that he was up to playing at this level.
The Volcanoes second match was always going to be a stroll in the park against the fledgling Afghanistan team, who are still learning the ropes of international rugby. The Philippines had eight different try-scorers and Paulo Jordan notched up his first international try as the scoreline of 50 - 0 indicated how clinical the boys were. This game allowed the boys to practice their attacking moves and all 12 players had good game time.
Then came the challenge of Japan. Favoured to feature in this tournament's final, having missed Shanghai due to safety concerns, Japan were in shock at the structure and ferocity of the Volcanoes' defence and Ryan Clarke stepped (literally) onto this stage with some wonderful rugby setting up both tries (to Wolff and Stern) for the Philippines. With just two minutes to go the scores were locked at 12 - 12 and the ground was abuzz that a huge upset was on the cards. A couple of errors right at the death meant Japan went on to win 22 - 12, but the Philippine team received rapturous applause from the other teams for pushing the giant of Asian Rugby so close.
The tournament did eventually see a big upset on the Saturday when Sri Lanka and Malaysia both finished ahead of China in their group, which eventually relegated China to 9th place in the tournament.
Having finished second in their group the Philippines woke on Sunday morning knowing that the young and hugely improved Chinese Taipei team would be a significant hurdle. It was another scorcher in Mumbai with temperatures in the mid-30s. The Volcanoes probably played their worst match here and conceded too many penalties, and although they went down 14 - 17 the boys knew they had not played their best, and had narrowly missed out on a top four finish which was Coach Mejia's tournament objective for the team. They were not helped when playmaker Clarke hobbled from the field at half-time with an ankle injury.
The Ben Gollings-coached Sri Lanka team had taken Hong Kong to within one score of knocking the tournament favourites out of the Cup competiton in their quarter final. The Philippines started brilliantly however and went out to an early lead which should have meant a 21 - 7 lead at half-time but was in fact 14 - 14 with a length of the field effort from the Lankans after we had controlled territory and possession. The extreme pace of the Sri Lankan wingers was too much in the second half and in one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament Sri Lanka won 31 - 19.
The seedings which will be relevant for the World Cup qualifier in Singapore on November 2/3, 2012 were still extremely tight and the Volcanoes were not going to go through Sunday without a win. In a polished all-round performance, highlighted by a fantastic captain's try by Harry Morris, the Philippines were never really in danger and beat the Koreans 24 - 14.
If one had predicted that the Philippines would finish ahead of both Korea and China in Mumbai, one would have expected a higher finish than seventh. But that seventh and sixth and seventh in Borneo and Shanghai means that the Philippines will take a seventh ranking into the Singapore tournament. The draw should be made soon and with the prospect of significant reinforcements in the form of players performing professionally in Japan, the Philippines hopes to come from the middle of the pack and battle above our weight in Singapore. The dream of a Sevens World Cup berth in Russia in June, 2013 is still alive.
Scoring details and team lists are outlined below:
Tim Bweheni (the starting seven for all matches)
Coach: Expo Mejia
Physio: Rico Barin
As usual, players came from far and wide with Mark Chatting and Joven Masalunga flying in from London and Ken Stern flying in from Sydney. Ken, in particular is to be commended for arriving late on the Friday evening and yet was able to start all six matches.
33 - 12, v Singapore
Tries: Clarke 2, Stern, Bheweni, Wolff
Cons: Pena 4.
50 - 0, v Afghanistan
Tries: Clarke 2, Stern, Bheweni, Chatting, Pena, Morris, Jordan
Cons Pena 3, Stern, Bheweni.
12 - 22, v Japan
Tries: Stern, Wolff
14 - 17 v Chinese Taipei
Tries: Morris, Wolff
Cons: Pena, Morris.
19 - 31 v Sri Lanka
Tries: Clarke, Bheweni, Wolff
Cons: Pena 2.
24 - 14 v Korea
Tries: Bheweni 2, Morris, Wolff
Cons: Bheweni, Pena.
Total Points (152 For, 96 Against):
Asian Sevens Series Rankings after Mumbai 7s
*Japan received an average of points from its performances in Borneo (16 pts) and Mumbai (15 pts) to account for its Shanghai Sevens final standings.
Lady Volcanoes' performance earns invitation to the 2013 Hong Kong Sevens
The Philippine National Women’s 7s team travelled to Pune India to compete in the 2012 Asian Women’s 7s Championships which was also the qualifying tournament for the 2013 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
After trekking 21 hours via Clark Airport, Bangkok and Mumbai the team arrived in Pune India on Thursday, Oct 4. The Lady Volcanoes had only trained together for a week leading up to the Asian Championships. The Philippines came up against the 2nd-ranked China in their first game and this was a hard opening game as the Chinese National Women’s team are all full-time professional athletes. The Philippines tried hard to break through the strong Chinese defense but were eventually worn down by their opponents who ran out winners by 29 – 0. Despite the loss, this was a vast improvement against the top ranked Asian team considering the last time the Philippines came against China, they went down by 56 – 0.
The second game of day 1 saw the Philippines come up against their South East Asian counterparts, Thailand which proved to be a tough encounter for the newly-formed Philippine team with Thailand capitalizing on some basic mistakes by the Philippines to run out winners by 24 – 7. These two loses placed the Lady Volcanoes in the B Division of the tournament with the top eight countries competing for the Cup and Plate and the next eight countries competing for the Bowl and Shield trophies.
The hard games on day 1 proved to solidify the Filipinas' resolve and they came out determined to win the Bowl Division trophy and claim the 9th spot at the Asian Women’s 7s Championships.
The Iran Women’s team had beaten the more favored India team on Day 1 and were looking strong coming into the semi final against the Philippines. Team Philippines pumped up for a physical encounter and Cassie Umali led the way with her courageous tackles which were well supported by Ada Milby who made some strong inroads into the Iranian defense. Finally, it was the Philippines structure and game plan that won the game with Marisol Linsteadt and Lelaine Martin both scoring tries to seal a comfortable win by 24 – 5.
The win placed the Philippines up against Sri Lanka in the Bowl Division final with the winner taking out the B Division of the Asian Women’s 7s championships. Sri Lanka were physically bigger and had more pace than the Philippines and coach Matt Cullen explained that possession and passion were the two main ingredients required to upset Sri Lanka in the Bowl Final.
The Philippines came out firing and again stuck to the structure that had proved successful in the win against Iran. Leilani Martin proved to be a handful for the Sri Lankan defense and constantly made ground as she drew in defenders to set up attacking raids for the Philippines. It was Co-Captain Aiumi Ono from the VisMin Rugby Club in Cebu who showed her natural talent when she split the Sri Lankan defense and scored under the posts to take an early lead. Aiumi then pulled off a great try-saving tackle to snuff out the only attacking raid that Sri Lanka had during in the first half. The Philippines then set about controlling possession in the second half and they did this with skill and enthusiasm and ran in another three tries to take out the Bowl Trophy and B Division Championships by 24 – 7.
This placing sets the Philippines up for an invite to the world famous Hong Kong Sevens International Tournament in March 2013. Coach Matt Cullen is confident that this young National Women’s team can improve on this ranking and equal the great feats of the Volcano men’s teams. He stated that the Women’s 7s program had only started in 2010 and did not enter a team in the Asian Championships in 2011. “They have already shown they can match it with the top teams in Asia. Winning the B Division at these championships will see the National Women’s 7s team win an invite to the Hong Kong 7s next March. If the team can attend more International Tournaments like this, then they will only improve to match it with the top teams in Asia”
Fiji emerged as the Cup Champions with China and Japan who all won spots to attend the Women’s 7s Rugby World Cup in 2013.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union has announced the players selected for the Mumbai Sevens tournament, scheduled on October 13 & 14, 2012.
Coach: Al Caravelli
Manager: Expo Mejia
Physio: Rico Barin
The Mumbai Sevens is the third leg in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series which includes Borneo, Shanghai and Singapore scheduled in November 2012. The Philippines finished 6th in Borneo and 7th in Shanghai. They are in Pool A with Japan, Singapore and Afghanistan in the Mumbai leg.
Group A: Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Afghanistan
Group B: China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Iran
Group C: Taiwan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Pakistan
Group D: Hong Kong, Thailand, UAE, India
The series rankings after Mumbai will serve to decide the seedings for the fourth and final HSBC A7s event in 2012, the Singapore Sevens which will also play host to the Rugby World Cup Sevens Asian qualifiers.
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