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
Bruised but not broken. The embattled National Men’s Rugby Team, known as the Philippine Volcanoes will face the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, May 18 in the closing match of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations competition. Both teams are winless in the series, making Saturday the battle against relegation, with the winner remaining in Asia’s top 5, and the loser relegated to Division 1.
It has been a challenging debut for the Philippines in the Elite Division after practically cruising through the lower divisions since the Volcanoes began competing in the Asian 5 Nations series. Before 2013, the Volcanoes had lost only once (in 2011 to South Korea), a record bested only by perennial A5N champions and still unbeaten Japan.
Despite the losses, the Volcanoes have shown flashes of brilliance in each match, and have vowed to put the pieces together to get the win against fourth-ranked United Arab Emirates. The past week has seen the arrival of veteran players Phil Abraham, Michael de Guzman and Nick Perry to shore up an injury-plagued forward pack. The lessons learned from their first three matches and extended training time together, a challenge the Volcanoes face with players based in different parts of the world, should also serve the Volcanoes in good stead.
Philippines Coach, Jarred Hodges, maintains that the team has stayed positive and is in good spirits in the lead up to Saturday’s match. “It won’t be easy, as UAE have been in the top 5 for a number of years, but we are quietly confident”. Hodges added “We are playing in Manila, and the hometown support never fails to lift the boys’ performance.”
The team that finishes fifth after the end of the six-week long competition will be demoted to Division 1, while the top 4 teams’ remain in the Elite Division and continue their quest to qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2015.
The winner of the Elite Division in 2014 receives outright qualification to the Rugby World Cup 2015, while the Elite Division’s 2nd placer will face the 2nd placers from Africa, Europe and the Americas in a knock-out competition for the 20th & final Rugby World Cup slot.
Where to watch:
Philippines vs. United Arab Emirates
7pm | Saturday, May 18
Rizal Memorial Stadium, Adriatico Ave.
Bleachers: FREE OF CHARGE
Grand Stand: P 200 / P500
available at: http://www.ticketworld.com.ph
The game will be telecast live on Solar Sports channel.
Live scoring on www.twitter.com/PhilippineRugby
Congratulations to the following 22 players who have been selected for the Philippines National Development Team (NDT) for the upcoming tour to Sabah, Malaysia:
The full squad of 42 players have been training for a number of weeks in preparation for games against Sabah Rugby Union and the Hong Kong National Development Team. The squad is made up entirely of Filipino heritage players who play their rugby in the local leagues. A number of these players have come from the Rugby 101 program and they are a testament to the ever-growing PRFU development program.
The fixtures for the National Development Team are as follows:
The Nomads proved again that they are the number one 15s Rugby team in the Philippines with an emphatic 30-10 win over the Alabang Eagles in the JML 15s Final last June 9. The Nomads forward pack took full control of the game from the kick off and set the scene when they went straight into the pick drive patterns and constantly challenged the Eagles to try and stop their aggressive rolling mauls. The Eagles defense was certainly more organized than the last time the two teams met and they tried to challenge their bigger Nomads counterparts at the edge of the mauls and rucks, but had little effect on the machine-like attack that Dave Feeney and his forwards displayed. The Nomads did not make a mistake in the forwards in the first half and this eventually led to Man of the Match, Chris Anderson scoring the first two tries of the game both in similar style coming from rolling mauls and strong forward play.
Nomads coach Phil “Stinger” Gittus proved once again that good old fashioned 10-man Rugby can win in 15s rugby and he had obviously drilled the Nomads forwards in the finer arts of tight play. His English upbringing and coaching style dominated the Nomads play, with the ball rarely thrown to the backline and the Nomads forwards enjoying the opportunity to play up the middle of the field.
The Eagles regrouped at halftime and turned the Nomads around at the second half with some tactical kicks from flyhalf Rupert Zappia which led to two penalties being awarded to the Eagles at 21 – 0 down. The Eagles decided to try and place some much needed points on the board. Unfortunately young Tim Smith who had kicked 10 penalties against the Cebu Dragons last week missed both attempts and the Eagles were left empty handed. Some pundits thought they should have taken the game to the Nomads and gone for the tries instead of the Penalty shots
It wasn’t until late in the second half that the Eagles crossed the Nomads line with a try which they were able to convert ; but this was all too late as the Nomads scored two more tries to take out the JML 15s Championship by 30 -10.
Chris Anderson from Nomads was named Man of the Match and Chris Hettel won the JML Award which was donated and presented by Steve Payne from JML.
Maverick Vipers Win the Bowl Final to claim top spot at Rugby 101
The Maverick Vipers were totally focused on winning their debut final in the JML 15s Bowl Division and came out firing on all cylinders as they scored in the first minute of the game through some sharp work from their two underage International players, Dan O’Reilly and AJ Brown, who combined in the backline to set up several attacking raids into the Bison Tarsiers territory. The Bison Tarsiers struggled to gain possession and the Maverick Vipers seemed to run at will, led by their Captain, Ulysses Veloso the MV’s were relentless in attack and scored a comprehensive six try to one victory.
The Bison Tarsiers scored a late try in the game to spoil the Maverick Vipers hope taking out the final without allowing their opponents to score against them, but this was too little too late with the Maverick Vipers dominating all aspects play and running out the Bowl champions winners by 45 – 7.
Carabaos Defeat Hapons in Plate Final
The Carabaos took out the Plate Final defeating the Manila Hapons by 49 – 17. The Carabaos were at full strength and took advantage of their strong bench, whilst the Hapons had to call on some players to help fill the ranks before kick off. Te Hapons upset their more fancied rivals when they scored a length of the field try, which started from behind their own line and ended with Keiichi Utaka scoring after the ball went through several sets of hands.
The Carabaos realized that the Hapons were going to play running rugby and closed things down with some aggressive forward play that led to the next two tries. The Hapons hit back and scored again before halftime and the game remained close leading into the break at 21 – 17.
It was all one way traffic during the second half and the Carabaos started to rotate their bench whilst the Hapons were starting to tire which allowed the Carabaos to score four tries second half tries and win the Plate final by 49 – 17.
Cup MVP – Chris Anderson
JML Cup Award – Chris Hettel
Plate MVP – Romani Peyrelouse
JML Plate Award – Fred Marcerou
Bowl MVP – Mark Bulacan
JML Award – AJ Brown
The next round of games will be played at the Philippine National Games at the RECS stadium in Sta Cruz Laguna on Saturday June 23rd. This will be an all day event with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals being presented by the PSC to the winning teams.
The Alabang Eagles travelled to Cebu this past weekend to support the Women’s International match and play their Cup round against the Cebu Dragons. The Eagles who were coming off a loss to Nomads, had to defeat the Dragons in order to cement a place in the JML 15s League finals.
The Cebu Dragons had a positive start to the game and pressured the Eagles from the kick off, this resulted in the Eagles giving away a simple penalty in front of the posts and Jerry Branzuela stepped to slot the Dragons first points. Unfortunately this would be the last points the Dragons would score until late in
the game as the Alabang Eagles took full control of the game and piled on 90 unanswered points to send a strong signal to the Nomads that the Eagles are ready for the JML 15s Finals. The speedy Eagles backline were in dominant form as they piled on 14 tries and seemed to run at will with Captain Tim Bweheni consistently making inroads into the Dragons defence. Young gun Tim Smith who played for the Philippine National u16s last year converted 13 shots to rake up 26 solo points and is a bright star for future National underage teams.
Under coach and player Dan Moutin, the Eagles forwards played with more discipline and Veve Apolosa was hard to stop as he charged into the Dragons forwards and also made several blockbusting tackles to create turnovers.
The Dragons tried to combat the Eagles onslaught but were unable to keep possession for more than three phases and struggled in the set pieces as the Eagles larger forwards applied constant pressure at every scrum and lineout.
Dragons Captains Noel Flowers and Jerry Branzuela kept rallying the Dragons players to fight until the end and newcomer backs Dean Bates and Tony Tualo from New Zealand showed signs that the Dragons can rebuild from this loss in their first outing in Cebu. The Dragons Captains frustration boiled over and both players were out on their feet by the end of the game.
The Final score was Eagles 90 Cebu Dragons 8 and the Eagles will now meet the Manila Nomads in the JML 15s Cup Finals to be played at the Eagles new home field in Silangan next Saturday June 9th. The finals will feature the three Men’s divisions, Cup, Plate and Bowl. The Women’s Division will rest as they prepare to play in the Asian Women’s Division 2 Championships against Laos, Singapore and Thailand in Manila on June 14 and 16th.
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