The Philippine Women's 15's Rugby team came up against a well-drilled and experienced Chinese Women's Rugby team that included many players who had played in the Chinese 7's National Team during the last two years on the Asian 7's circuit. This was the first time that 8 of the 15 starting Filipino team had experienced the opportunity of playing at International level. The game started in a very evenly contested battle which saw both teams putting their bodies on the line in a very physical encounter. It was not until the 15th minute of the first half that the nil all deadlock was broken. A well-weighted kick downfield saw the Chinese score out wide to take a 5 - 0 lead. The try was converted and the Lady Volcanoes knew they were in for a hard battlle.
The second quarter saw the Chinese backline show their experience with many attacking raids into the Philippines’ territory, the Lady Volcanoes combated the onslaught with some committed defense and the spectators were amazed at how the smaller Filipino ladies could take down their larger Chinese opponents. After a glut of possession, the Chinese managed to score out wide and took a second half lead of 24 - 0.
Coaches Susan Konstantly and Grant Rice rallied the Filipino team at halftime and could only praise the tenacious and never give up attitude of the many newcomers in such a fierce physical encounter. Both coaches implored their warriors to keep moving forward and challenge their larger opponents and this is exactly what the Lady Volcanoes did. The third quarter saw the Chinese score only one try which came at the end of the 45 minute period. The Chinese suddenly realized that the Filipinas were here to contest until the final whistle.
It was evident that the Lady Volcanoes were never going to surrender; injuries to two of the experienced players in the final quarter sparked a revival by the Filipino team. For the last 10 minutes of this quarter the Filipino team rallied to put on many raids into the Chinese scoring zone. The girls were almost over the line on few occasions, but the Chinese were able to hold back the attacking raids. The crowd supported and cheered the Lady Volcanoes as they took up the challenge to the Chinese. In the dying seconds of the game the Chinese swooped on a loose ball and raced 95meters to score and take the final scoreline to 36 to nil.
In true spirit, our team refused to surrender. At the end of the game, the Chinese team realized that they had beaten a spirited, never-say-die Filipino side and their bodies felt that they had been in a real contest.
The Coaches award was shared by Eloisa Jordan and Rozie Morala and the big hit of the game was a bone-cracker by Manila Santos.
Photos by: Jackie Hoffart
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