The Manila Nomads proved once again that they are the reigning 15s Rugby team in the Philippines with a close win over the Alabang Eagles in the Fila 15s Cup division final last June 22. Nomads relied on their bigger forwards, their aggressive pick and drive style of play, and rolling mauls to gain territory. The younger Eagles took advantage of the experience of several Volcanoes players on their backs line. Tim Bweheni, Robert Jones, and Adam Clarke suited up for the Eagles for this very important match.
Nomads skipper and Volcanoes player, David Feeney, started the scoring with a pick and drive off the 5 meter line. Fly half Danny Williams converted the try to add cushion to the Nomads lead. Eagles responded instantly with a counter attack from a kick off. Jones outpaced several defenders and scored a try for the Eagles. As the try wasn’t converted, the score remained at 7-5 by the half.
After the break, Nomads were on the board again with a try by Williams. Conversion was unsuccessful but they were up by 7 points. An Adam Clarke try made the score even at 12-all. With the Cup championship on the line, both teams tightened up their defensive line and tried to outmuscle their way to gain territory. A successful penalty kick by Williams gave the Nomads a slim lead in the last 20 minutes of play. It was a defensive battle from there, as both teams tackled hard and forced a series of turnovers. Eagles were able to sneak in a try to take the lead for the first time in the match. Their try was converted for a score of 17-15 to the Eagles. Nomads turned to their experienced forwards pack for control over the last minutes of the match. A rolling maul from a lineout gave MVP Paul Retzlaff a chance to steal the match from the Eagles. Retzlaff scored a try and Williams converted it, sealing the win for the defending champions at 22-17.
Ladies Division: Manila Defeats Cebu at PRFU FILA 15s League Championship
The north and south ladies teams battled for another PRFU league championship title. The Cebu Lady Dragons, who won last year’s 15s match against Manila Mayhem, came to the field ready to defend their title. The Manila Mayhem, who won the 10s league championship against the southerners last March, were up for the challenge.
With both teams having at least 8 rookies– and missing a few key players on the lineup– it was an evenly matched game from the start. The match started off very physical, as both sides tackled hard to prevent each other from gaining ground. The Lady Dragons showed quality passing, which enabled them to swing the ball from side to side. In contrast, Mayhem demonstrated their forwards’ strength by creating a solid defense and coming up fast off the line. Mayhem opened up the scoring with a quick ball to the backs on the 5 meter line. Fullback Loujen Saldo found a gap and dove for the try. The Lady Dragons answered back with a blind side play off the scrum. After quickly picking up the ball, Number 8, Tonette Gambito, sped straight towards the line, outrunning Mayhem’s winger. Try was converted and the Lady Dragons were up 7-5.
Cebu Lady Dragons
Substitute player Lima, an 18 year old Papua New Guinean player from Cebu, made her presence felt early as she broke through several tackles and popped the ball to their speedy captain, Aiumi Ono. Ono then crossed the line and her try was converted. After a short regroup, Mayhem girls came back with two quick tries before the half. Mayhem’s forwards worked hard to draw defenders, creating scoring opportunities for their speedy backs. Ada Milby bulldozed her way to the line, while Nikki Lira scored a try between the posts after a quick pass from the backs.
The second half saw stronger defence and more aggression from both ladies teams. A yellow card was given to Lima of Cebu, which resulted to a penalty try for Manila Santos of Mayhem. Try was converted, bringing Mayhem up 22-14. Another yellow card from a high tackle resulted to Lira sitting out for a few minutes. The Lady Dragons were not able to take advantage of the overlap and remained unable to score on several opportunities. A loose ball from a broken play resulted to a breakaway try by Saldo. This sealed the win at 29-14 for Manila Mayhem, and Loujen Saldo was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the Women’s Division.
Plate Division: Ibons Dominate Globe at PRFU FILA 15s League Championship
It was a tough battle for the much improved Globe Immortals as they played against an Alabang Ibons team composed mostly of speedy Papua New Guinean players. The Immortals, who were able to secure a spot in the finals by beating rival Maverick Vipers, were outran several times by the PNG players. The first 10 minutes looked promising as the Immortals held their ground and contained their speedy opponents. It was a physical match, but the local boys were able to gain yards and match up to the strength of their opponents. Fitness and experience spelled the difference as the Ibons finally out-muscled their opponents and swung the ball to their swift-running backs. A series of runaway tries gave momentum to the Ibons and disheartened the Immortals. A bad cut above the eye forced Immortals skipper and Volcano player, Jay Coronel, to be pulled out of the game, much to his team’s dismay. David Brissonnaud, Immortals’ inside-center, managed to put in a penalty kick, making the score 19-3 at the half.Globe Immortals
The second half was still an all-Ibons show as their PNG players scored try after try. Coronel was unable to return to the field because of the cut sustained in the first half. The match ended at 62-3 with Chris Karo, a PNG player, being awarded the MVP. It was a tough loss for the Immortals, but this match gave them the experience they needed to compete in 15s rugby.
Bowl Division: Clark Rugby Club Come From Behind to Beat QCPU and Win the Bowl ChampionshipQuezon City Polytechnic University
Clark Rugby Club made the biggest comeback in the PRFU Fila 15s League as they snuck up from behind to beat the QCPU Questors 24-22. QCPU started the scoring feast in the first half with quick passing and overall speed. They scored four unanswered tries with one conversion. Down 22-nil at the half, the CRC boys regrouped and relied on experience to crawl back from the huge deficit. A series of penalties in the ruck after the half gave CRC several scoring opportunities which they quickly took advantage of. Joe Mari Rauras started the scoring spree for CRC. They followed their structure by giving the ball to their forwards, allowing them to draw defenders, cause overlaps, and quickly swing the ball to the backs. True to the formula, they scored four tries and successfully converted twice. The last try came seconds before the end of the match. When the whistle was blown, CRC boys erupted in cheers while the QCPU boys stood in disbelief. It was a great win for the CRC boys, who showed everyone that no one gives up in the game of Rugby. It was a lesson learned for the QCPU boys: The match is never finished until the referee blows his whistle.
Thank you to all the teams who participated in this year’s Fila 15s League. Congratulations to all the champion teams. Next League games will be in August for 7s Rugby.
Cup MVP – Paul Retzlaff
Women’s MVP – Loujen Saldo
Plate MVP – Chris Karo
Bowl MVP – Jonel Madrona
The Manila Nomads proved that they are the top ranked local team leading into the Manila 10s by convincingly defeating the Alabang Eagles by 33 - 19 in the Cup Final of the JML 10s league. With the series at one game each leading into the final, the Nomads came out with all guns blazing in an overwhelming first half display that saw them take a 19 point lead in the first half. Tries to Jon Morales, John Munro and Chris Anderson left the Eagles in their wake as the Nomads forwards dominated the set pieces and barreled through the Eagles defenses to set up quality ball for their backs. Coach Phil Gittus tactics of simple forward dominated rugby paid dividends and the Nomads mistake rate was minimal as the Eagles struggled to escape their own half. The return of David Carman and Tim Bweheni helped spark a short lived Eagles revival in the second half and they both scored late tries to bring the score back to a respectable level. The Nomads defeated the Eagles and retained the PRFU 10s Cup for 2013.
The Nomads defeated the Eagles in last year’s plate final at the Manila 10s tournament and have set themselves up to defend this title at next weekend’s competition.
It was fantastic to see all the local PRFU teams playing in the JML 10s finals in preparation for the 2013 Manila 10s tournament. The JML 10s finals also saw the Globe Immortals play the Makati Mavericks with the winner of this final securing the last available position at the Manila 10s. The Makati Mavericks were shouting war cries at the kick off and were then shouting victory cries at the end of the game when they ran out winners by 49 - 0.
Good luck to all the local PRFU teams and Clubs in the Manila 10s next weekend.
Ladies Division: Manila Defeats Cebu at JML PRFU 10s League Championship
Photo Credit: Nomads Sports Club
The north and south ladies teams battled for another PRFU league championship title. The Cebu Lady Dragons, who had previously won all matches against Manila, came to the pitch expecting another victory. Manila Mayhem had other plans.
The first match was evenly contested. Both teams put their bodies on the line in a grueling encounter. An ankle injury in the 5th minute ended the game early for Lady Volcano Madille Salinas, forcing Cebu coach Dean Baker to adjust their game plan. In the 7th minute, Manila scrumhalf Cassie Umali picked up a loose ball and broke through to the score line, earning the first try of the match. With a physically larger forwards pack, the Manila ladies kept most of the match on their territory, drawing the bulk of Cebu’s defence and freeing space for their backs. Lady Volcano winger Nikki Lira out-smarted Cebu defenders with a quick sidestep, scoring a swift second try.
The second half saw the Cebu team take advantage of a series of penalties by the Manila team. After a quick tap from a penalty, Cebu player Aiumi Ono scored the Southerners' first try. With the match close at 10-5, Manila ladies relied on their forwards, who pushed the ball to the attacking zone while drawing Cebu defenders. This play created a big overlap, and with quick passing from the backs, substitute winger Loujen Saldo caught the ball on the run and scored the third try in between the posts. The first game ended with a score of 15-5 in favor of Manila.
Photo Credit: Cebu Lady Dragons
The second match saw stronger defence from both ladies teams. With the added pressure of needing to win against Manila by more than 10 points, the Cebu team relied on the strength of their forwards to defend their territory. However, a ruck on the 5 metre line gave a quick ball to Manila's backs and allowed the Manila team to score their first try of the second match. Inside Center Stephie Harringer crashed through Cebu defence after a quick pass from Lady Volcano Acee San Juan. A pop pass from Lady Volcano legend Arlene Trinkler to Rose dela Cruz then won Manila their second try and earned the team a 10-to-nil lead by halftime.
The second half exhibited a series of good tackles from both teams. The Cebu team again capitalized on infractions by Manila's players. After a prolonged phase on the 5 metre line, Cebu newbie Ica Astentista picked the ball from the ruck and dove over the line to score Cebu's first try. The last 5 minutes saw more quality tackling, particularly from Manila's Aye Honoras and Cebu's Cherry Manaug. Cebu Lady Volcano Luisa Jordan managed to break through Manila's defensive lines several times and was consistently able to draw at least two defenders with each attempt. Ending the match, another quick ball from the backs gave Nikki Lira the change to score Manila's third try. The second game ended with a final score of 17-5 in favor of Manila, and Most Valuable Player for the ladies division was later awarded to Manila fly half, Acee San Juan, and Cebu lock, Cherry Manaug.
It was two tough matches, but both teams demonstrated a much-improved brand of women’s rugby in the Philippines. These matches served as a tryout for the ladies who hope to be included in the National Women’s 15s and 7s teams
Falcons win Bowl Championship; Ibons clinch Plate Championship
Falcons (Bowl Champions)
The Falcons started the day with an easy friendly against the Vipers in the Bowl division. The Falcons, with minimal experience in the game play of rugby, still had the edge over the Vipers. Their flair in passing and precision running resulted in a 22 – 0 victory over the Vipers.
The Hapons played a tough and expansive game plan in the first half, running the Falcons from side to side, but their effort was matched with the tough defence of the Falcons. The Falcons utilized their more experienced and seasoned players, which was evident in the second half of the game. The strong running of the PNG players broke tackles and left the Hapons’ defence wanting. The Falcons beat the Hapons 17-0. With this win, the Falcons were crowned the Bowl Champions.
Alabang Ibons (Plate Champions)
Captain Chris Hettel led the Ibons through a tough and exciting game against the Carabaos. It was necessary for the Ibons to beat the Carabaos with 18 or more points to walk away the victors in the Plate division. With the Ibons under pressure even before the game started, the Carabaos were the clear favourites for this epic show down. The Carabaos displayed their strength and scored the first try of the game. With an unsuccessful conversion, they lead 5-0 in the first 5 min of the game. The Ibons answered with hardened defence which led to Nixon ripping the ball in a tackle. Scoring between the uprights, they left the Carabaos puzzled.
With the score now at 7-5, Ibons captain had a hard talk with his team. His encouraging words were evident and the Ibons scored next with some good backline play. Running the ball from within their own half, they scored in the right side corner. With an unsuccessful conversion, the score was 12-5. Captain Chris Hettel stepped up in the forwards with some good strong running, putting the Ibons on the front foot in attack. With the backs receiving good ball, they scored again just before half time and took the lead 19-5.
The second half was all about which team was the fittest. The strength of the Carabaos’ forwards, just could not keep up with the Ibons agile and speedy forwards. It was soon evident that the Ibons would walk away with a victory. When they scored the first try only a few minutes into the second half, the score was 24-5. It was not long after and they scored another try bringing the score to 29-5. The Carabaos manned up in defence but it was too little too late and the Ibons walked away with a victory of 29-5. The Ibons’ 24 point lead victory, guaranteed them as the Plate division victors, earning them the spoils of this exciting and courageous performance of rugby.
The Manila Nomads bounced back to upset the Alabang Eagles in round two of the JML 10s League. After suffering an embarrassing first round defeat, the Nomads went back to the basics and a fired up team ran onto the field at Southern Plains ready to make amends for the first round lost. The Nomads went back to their forward dominated game plan and team Captain Dave Feeney led the relentless pick and drive routine that eventually led to the Nomads first try to Volcanoes player Jon Morales, who dived over from a five meters out. The Eagles struggled up front in the scrums and the larger Nomads pack constantly wheeled the Eagles to retain a glut of possession. When the Eagles backs were able to see some rare ball, they sparked into attack mode with Juan Engelbtrecht streaking down the sideline to link up with Volcanoes player Harry Morris to score the game's second try. Tim Bweheni then converted from outward and the Eagles took a 7 – 5 lead into halftime.
The second half hung in the balance until the assistant referee reported Tim Bweheni for a striking charge that resulted in a red card and this left the Eagles with 9 players. The Nomads forwards continued to dominate possession. It was only a matter of time before Chris Anderson crossed out wide to give the Nomads a late lead by 10 – 7. The Eagles had a couple of late chances and displayed that even with a depleted side that they are lethal in attack. The Nomads were able to hang on and even the series at 1 – 1. The Cup Final will be played next Saturday March 2nd and the winner of this game will take the upper hand into Manila 10s on March 16/17th.
Mavericks Rugby Club
The Plate Division games saw the Carabaos hit form with their new Fijian contingent led by Saki Tuisolia as they easily beat the Globe Immortals by 39 – 0. The Mavericks proved they will definitely contend for the last spot in the Manila 10s tournament by defeating the Ibons by 17 – 15 in the game of the day. The Ibons squandered several chances including a conversion to even the game. National team u18s player, Ramirez Lito Cruz from the Tuloy Foundation, proved a handful for the Ibons and scored twice for the Mavericks. These results have now set up two final games in next week’s Plate division with the Carabaos playing the Ibons to win the Plate trophy and the Vipers playing Globe to see who takes the coveted last spot in the Manila 10s team draw.
The Alabang Falcons have proven to be a handful in the Bowl division and won both their games on Saturday by defeating the Clark Rugby Club by 39 - 0 and then backed up to defeat Vipers by 67 – 0. In the other Bowl division game, the Hapons made their debut at the JML 10s and won a hard fought battle over the determined MAAP warriors by 21 – 0. The Falcons have a points majority lead over the rest of the field and the Hapons will need to defeat the Falcons by a large margin to compete for the Bowl Trophy.
The finals of the JML 10s league will be played this Saturday, March 2nd at Nomad Sports Club from 3pm – 8pm.
Alabang Ibons vs. Globe
The JML PRFU 10s League kicked off with a bang this Saturday at Southern Plains, Eagles Nest. First up was the women’s division with a battle between the warrior princesses. It was a tough start with both teams playing on pretty equal terms, with team Xena winning the first game by 24-20. Team Athena put their foot down in the second game against Xena and ran away with a 22-5 victory.
The first men’s game showed that there are plenty of local talent in the youthful CRC team who defeated the Vipers 66-24. They displayed excellent ball skills and constantly created gaps in the opposition defence. The Vipers on the other hand were focused on their forwards and tried to play the game up the middle of the field, this style of play was not enough to best the fast feet and hands of the youthful CRC team.
The Globe 7s League kicked off on Saturday, August 4 at the Southern Plains Rugby Field. The new expanded tournament saw the inclusion of 15 men’s teams and 3 Women’s team with University of Makati (UMAK) and Quezon City Polytechnic University (QCPU) as the newest additions to the league.
The PRFU have been running Rugby development programs at both Universities since late 2011. After introducing Touch Rugby at the early stages of the program, the students of UMAK and QCPU graduated to playing 7s Rugby and have now stepped up into the Globe 7s League to play in the Bowl competition. Earlier this year the PRFU introduced 7s Touch Rugby at the ALCU University games and it is envisaged that the PRFU will start a University 7s League in 2013.
In wet conditions the Bowl teams started the day with the Tarsiers, UMAK, QCPU, Ibons and the Clark Rugby Club all travelling to the Southern Plains Rugby Club to start the new Globe 7 series that will run in two leagues until the end of October 2012.
The Clark Rugby Club, who were Silver Medal winners from the Philippine National Games, showed that they will again be a force to reckon with in the 7s arena and won their first two games finally losing their third game in a close battle to Bowl Favorites the Ibons.
One of the best games of the day was played between the two University teams, with the University of Makati winning the inaugural university challenge by 17 – 10 and also claiming the Bowl Division “Hardy’s Team of the Day" award.
The Plate Division was divided into two pools of 4 teams while the Women’s teams of Xena and Nomads played three games over the afternoon. The Men’s games saw the new team from the Eagles RFC, the Falcons, make an immediate impact at this level of competition. A second team, the Flamingos, was also formed on the day composed mostly of students from Adamson University who hail from Papua New Guinea.
The Eagles were the strongest team on the day with the Hapons and CBRE Mavericks playing out the closest game in the Plate Division with the Mavericks eventually winning the arm wrestle 7 – 5. The Women finished the day in very wet conditions with an exhilarating 0 – 0 draw the last round of games had to postponed as the heavens opened.
The second round of the Globe 7s League is on Saturday, August 18 at the Southern Plains Field, Silangan, Laguna.
Full list of the Globe 7s League Round 1 results.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge. All photos by Mark Cristino
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