The inaugural PRFU Women’s 15s Invitational was held last Saturday, June 14, at Southern Plains field, Silangan. The tournament comprised of two local teams, Manila Mayhem and Cebu Lady Dragons, and a visiting team, Bedok Kings Skyllas from Singapore.
The first game between Cebu and Singapore set the intensity for the day as both teams came out looking for that first win. The Skyllas showed their strength straight from the kick off with a quick try scored by fly half, Zheng Yiting. Cebu struggled to move the ball forward without a committed scrum half position to guide the plays and the Skyllas' quick line defense. Continuity of possession proved the Skyllas' balanced and structured game plan with resulting tries from Lee Yi Tian (2), Loh Jun Wei Agnes (1), an additional try from Zheng and a hat trick of tries from Chloe Besanger (3). Despite the mismatch of teams between the well-seasoned Skyllas and the many rookies of the Lady Dragons, Cebu showed plenty of heart and played with conviction the entirety of the match. Final score 40-0.
The second match between the Skyllas and Manila Mayhem started off in favor of Mayhem with a knock on from Skyllas in the kick receive. Mayhem used this advantage to push towards their try line, but the Skyllas' defensive line proved difficult for the girls to break and eventually resulted in a turnover. This resulted to the first try scored by Zheng Yiting from a strong series of forwards' drives near their try line. Mayhem continued to find a footing but the strength of Skyllas in the restarts proved too much for them. Missed tackles and defensive gaps were the downfall for Mayhem, as additional tries were scored by Koh Mei Giet (1), Angelina Liu Huiyun (1), Marlina Binte Mohd Kasbi (1), and another one from Zheng (1). Final score 27-0.
Always the favorite rivalry, the final game between Cebu and Manila proved to be the closest match of the day. Both teams were a little battered and bruised. Each team looked to secure a win for the day. The match opened with a quick Lady Dragons try from a breakaway run from seasoned veteran Madille Salinas. Salinas was tackled just inches from the line but supporting player Dixie Yu picked up the ball from the ruck and dove for the try. The battle raged on in the first half as Mayhem had a series of forwards phases resulting in a try by Noreen Novero. Only separated in points by a conversion kick entering the second half, Mayhem and Lady Dragons all fought strongly. The number of penalties from Lady Dragons due to so many rookie players eventually turned the tides for Mayhem as they were able to capitalize on field advantage. These resulted in tries from Cha Bolando (1), Rose dela Cruz (1), Rara Sales (1), Michelle Mateo (1), and captain Acee San Juan (1). Final score 32-5.
In all, the tournament was a success for women’s development in the Philippines. The support from Philippine Sports Commission and PRFU allowed the women to compete and improve by playing against an international team, a necessity moving forward for the national training squad moving into the sevens series in the second half of this year.
With the completion of the Philippine Volcanoes’ Asian 5 Nations series, rugby fans and enthusiasts are asking, “What’s next?”
Local women’s Rugby will take center stage this month with the inaugural PRFU Women’s 15s Invitational Tournament on Saturday, June 14 at Southern Plains field in Silangan, Laguna.
Two local teams, the Manila Mayhem Women’s Rugby and the Cebu Lady Dragons Rugby Club, along with the visiting Bedok Kings Skyllas Women’s Rugby from Singapore will compete for victory, bragging rights, and a trophy in this exciting one day tournament. Like the men’s game, there are 15 players per side and three, 40 minutes games will be played throughout the afternoon.
The games start at 1pm. Admission is free of charge.
“It’s the first time since 2012 that local women’s 15s Rugby teams will get to test their skills against an international team” said Ada Milby, PRFU’s Head of Development and current captain of the Lady Volcanoes. “It should be a great day of Rugby as the local players have improved by much since the Philippine Rugby Football Union introduced a women’s Rugby program in 2010” she added.
This tournament also marks the first in the series of five tournaments for local players. The series, organized in partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission, is a grassroots development program aimed at identifying emerging new talents and providing additional training for the Lady Volcanoes 7s squad, which will take part in tournaments in Hong Kong and China later this year.
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