The Philippine Rugby Football Union is proud to announce the players who have been selected to be part of the Philippine Volcanoes team that will compete in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, India Sevens.
Mark Nelmida Chatting
Harry Dionson Morris
Gareth Dela Rosa Holgate
Andrew Peñaflorida Wolff
Chris Alamil Everingham
Robert Amalay Jones
Aaron Bacos Briddon
Rupert Dian Zappia
Coach: Matt Cullen
Manager: Jake Robrigado Letts
Physiotherapist: Rico Barin
The India Sevens will be held from October 12 to October 13 at the Bombay Gymkhana in Mumbai. The HSBC Asian Sevens Series is Asia’s premier regional Rugby Sevens competition which consists of four tournaments in different countries (Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Singapore).
Series set for Kick-off in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia Sevens Draw is Held
[Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 26 2013]: The Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) today announced the dates for the 2013 HSBC Asian Rugby Sevens Series (HSBC A7S), Asia’s premier regional sevens competition.
The official tournament draw for the Malaysia Sevens, the opening event on this year’s Series, was also held this afternoon in Kuala Lumpur and officiated by Mr Ross Mitchell, Honorary Secretary General of the Asian Rugby Football Union, Dato Wira Amiruddin Embi, President of the Malaysian Rugby Union and Abdul Sani, Head of Marketing Malaysia, of HSBC.
This year’s HSBC A7S continues the worldwide growth trend in sevens ahead of the sport’s debut in the Olympics in 2016. Most notably, the HSBC A7S has grown from the three ranking events of 2012 to four ranking events for 2013. The number of core teams, (those nations competing across every event on the series), has also increased from last year’s ten to 12, heralding a further improvement in the already-high competitive standard.
The core teams on the 2013 Series are defending champions Hong Kong, runners-up Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
The Series opens this weekend with the Malaysia Sevens, hosted by the Malaysia Rugby Union, and held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur after several successful tournaments in Borneo.
After Kuala Lumpur, Asian sevens action moves to the land of smiles for the Thailand Sevens in mid-September. The Thailand Sevens marks the largest ever HSBC A7S event with 28 teams participating, including 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams. The four men’s teams playing alongside the 12 core teams in Thailand are Cambodia, India, Laos and Uzbekistan, with Cambodia and Uzbekistan making their HSBC A7S debuts. The 12 women’s teams in Thailand are participating as part of the two-leg Asian Women’s Sevens Series with the other tournament being held once again in Pune, India.
After Thailand, the Series returns to Mumbai in October for the India Sevens at the legendary Bombay Gymkhana club. Fourteen teams will take part including the 12 core sides, hosts India and Iran.
The Series once again concludes in Singapore with November’s Singapore Sevens - this time granted full ranking status on the Series.
In Singapore, the 12-core teams will be concluding what should be another tight-wire series, (last year’s champions Hong Kong were better by runners-up Japan by only ½ of a point), as they chase more than just Asian bragging rights.
The top finisher on the Series will take comfort that they are leading the stakes for Asia’s sole men’s qualification spot for the 2016 Olympic Games, while the top finishers on this year’s HSBC A7S will again book coveted spots in the world-famous Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in March 2014.
All of the action kicks off in Kuala Lumpur this weekend with the Malaysia Sevens (August 31-1 September). The official tournament draw was held at today’s press conference.
The top four finishers from last year’s Series, Hong Kong, Japan, Chinese Taipei and China respectively, were seeded into the first row of the four pools with the remaining eight teams banded into two draw groups of four and drawn across the remaining spots.
Hong Kong tops Pool A with runners-up Japan in Pool D, China and Chinese Taipei are ranked as the top seeds in Pool B and Pool C accordingly.
Making matters more interesting in the opening tournament of the 2013 HSBC A7S is that the Malaysia Sevens falls in the same week as the 12th National Games in China, where rugby sevens is making its debut thanks to the sport’s new Olympic status.
As a result, two of the top four seeds, China and Hong Kong, will have the challenge of running two elite sevens squads in a simultaneous period.
The date clash has put extra pressure on Hong Kong’s small player base. Last season, Hong Kong used a core group of players led by Rowan Varty as they won their first-ever HSBC Asian Sevens crown.
“Last year we only used 14 players during the series, but now we will have to split our resources between the National Games and the opening tournament in Malaysia and both are equally important to us,” said Dai Rees, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s head of performance and coaching.
All teams know that a good start in Kuala Lumpur will give them much-needed momentum in the four-leg Series.
With the series being expanded to four legs this year, it will give teams a little more breathing space to come back from one bad result but Hong Kong will be hoping that they can still finish in the top-two in Malaysia even though several of their senior players are likely to be on duty at the China National Games.
“Winning a gold medal at the National Games will be important as it is the first time that rugby sevens is being played there – since it is now an Olympic sport – which means the result will carry a lot of weight among the Hong Kong Olympic Committee,” Rees said.
While Japan and Hong Kong are again expected to contest for the top spot, fierce opposition can be expected from South Korea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, while the Malaysia Sevens can never be counted out on their home grounds at Petaling Jaya.
South Korea will be aiming to make a mark before the Asian Games, which they host in Incheon next year. In recent years the Koreans have failed to fire at sevens and have been a shadow of the sides that used to stun top teams with regularity at the Hong Kong Sevens in the late 90s.
“This series is really important to us as we look ahead to the Incheon Asian Games and good results will boost our preparation for that,” said Korean coach Park Ki Haeng.
The Philippines will hope the hard lessons learned at June’s World Cup Sevens in Moscow will pay dividends. The biggest hurdle facing them, however, is the availability of their leading players who ply their trade in Australia and Japan.
“It’s all about having a quality team for all four tournaments and that is what we are trying to do,” said Philippines coach Matt Cullen. “We are confident that if we put out our best side we can compete for a top-three finish in the series and this is our goal.”
Sri Lanka finished last season on a high on the 15-a-side front when they won the Division One tournament in the HSBC Asian Five Nations and was promoted to the Top Five in 2014.
But their sevens programme was put out of kilter by the sudden departure of their foreign coaches earlier this month leaving the squad rudderless. If they can get their act together, and if Ben Gollings is back again, the islanders can be a threat to any side.
Among the other sides capable of pulling an upset win on their day are Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Chinese-Taipei, the latter finishing a surprise third place in the series last year, earning them an invite to the Hong Kong Sevens for the first time since 2010.
About HSBC and Rugby
HSBC is a long-term investor in Rugby in Asia and around the world. As well as being the title sponsor of the Sevens World Series, Asian 5 Nations and Asian Sevens Series, the bank is co-title sponsor of the Hong Kong Sevens from 2012. HSBC is the Principal Partner of all the Hong Kong rugby teams, and the British & Irish Lions, who played in Hong Kong in 2013 en route to Australia. The bank is also the title sponsor of the Waratahs Super 15 team in Australia, the Penguin International Coaching Academy and the Cobra 10s tournament in Malaysia.
Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU)
ARFU was founded in 1968 with eight member unions. In the past decade its membership has trebled to 28 full and associate member unions ranging from Kazakhstan in the north to Indonesia in the south and Lebanon in the west to Guam in the east. ARFU covers a territory of over 44 sq million kilometres and more than 3 billion people. ARFU is the sanctioning body for the HSBC Asian 5 Nations, which every four years acts as the qualifying event for the Rugby World Cup, and the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, which was held for the first time in 2011. ARFU also offers organized international competition for women and youth across Asia.
HSBC Asian Rugby Sevens Series 2013 Facts
Organiser: Asian Rugby Football Union
Title Sponsor: HSBC
Endorsing Body: International Rugby Board
Dates & Venue:
Tournament 1: Malaysia Sevens
Saturday August 31 – Sunday September 1, 2013
Petaling Jaya Stadium, Kuala Lumpur
Tournament 2: Thailand Sevens
Saturday September 21 – Sunday September 22, 2013
IPE Chonburi Main Stadium, Bang Saen
Tournament 3: India Sevens
Saturday October 12 – Sunday October 13, 2013
Bombay Gymkhana, Mumbai
Tournament 4: Singapore Sevens
Saturday November 9 – Sunday November 10, 2013
Yio Chu Kang Sports Complex, Singapore
Single Round Robin followed by playoffs
Series points will be awarded based on the final standings at each event.
Final Standings from the 2012 HSBC Asian Rugby Sevens Series
The Philippine Volcanoes, National Men’s Rugby Sevens team, are in the thick of preparations for the country’s debut in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia later this month.
The Volcanoes’ have spent most of the past month sequestered at their camp in Laguna under former USA Rugby coach, Al Caravelli. Their grueling regimen is said to include three training sessions per day, strict dietary requirements, classroom and video sessions.
Composed of veterans and a few new faces, the original squad of 23 has been cut down to 14, with the final team of 12 players is scheduled to be selected on June 19. The Volcanoes will travel to Moscow, Russia on June 23 in time for the tournament which runs from June 28 to 30.
“The players are growing individually & as a team by leaps & bounds.” says Caravelli. “While we are still very new to international Rugby we are learning every day & continuously improving.”
The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the premier Rugby Sevens tournament featuring the top 24 teams in the world. The Philippines, along with Japan and Hong Kong are the only three Asian countries in the competition. The Volcanoes, who clinched a spot in the RWC7s by defeating South Korea at the qualifying tournament held in November 2012, are in Pool C with Zimbabwe, Kenya and Samoa.
On their goals for the tournament, Caravelli shares, “We want to improve from our last international showing from qualifying in November for the RWC7s & the Hong Kong Sevens in 2012. We have never played Kenya, they are a quality team, very fit & strong & well coached. Samoa finished 4th in the series last year. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe beat us on the last play of the game in Hong Kong. So our eyes wide open, focused on our performance & improving in all aspects of our game. We want the Philippine nation & all Pinoys to be proud of our effort regardless of the final score line.”
Sevens Rugby, which plays seven men per team on the field, is a faster, more exciting version of Rugby Union which plays 15 men per side. It is also the version of Rugby played in the South East Asian Games and Asian Games. Rugby Sevens will make its debut as an official sport in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Kiama 7s Volcanoes team
Saturday, February 23
In atrocious conditions, the team assembled bright and early. Our first game was at 8:40 and despite a rushed warm-up the boys got the job done. While at times it wasn't pretty, the boys worked hard coming from behind and beat the Newcastle All Blacks 17-5. A good start considering we just came together that morning. Luke Matthews, Ben Saunders, and Richard Goodwin were the standout players in game one.
Game 2 saw us play Easts Rugby from Canberra. Having a game under our belts and a full warm-up, we went into this game with confidence. The boys started well and the game was over at half time as we led 17 – nil. In the second half, we made some poor decisions and mistakes crept in. However, we had done enough to run out winners 17-7. This result meant we won our group and moved in to the Cup finals – the knockout stage. Luke Matthews, Chris Hitch, Darren Seeto, and Ben Matthews were the standout players.
Game 3 was a major step up as we played the eventual winners of the tournament in QLD Fiji. This team was made up of six players from the Fiji National team and in their earlier games, had won in comfortable fashion. The game started poorly for us as they kicked off, used their height advantage to re-gather, and score. Down 7-nil inside 20 seconds, this put us on the back foot and had us playing catch up from the get go. Some basic mistakes, inexperience and one-on-one missed tackles saw them dominate the first half and go to the break leading 17-nil. The second half saw us control the ball for longer periods, as well as putting some pressure on them in defence. This pressure resulted in forcing a mistake and leading to our first try. They scored again late in the half making the final score 22-7.
Asian nations roll out coaching big guns as Ben Gollings and Al Caravelli take reins of Sri Lanka and Philippines for 2012 Series
Japan and Hong Kong will begin as favourites to finish top of the pile when the HSBC Asian Sevens Series (HSBC A7s) kicks off with the Borneo Sevens in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday (September 1). With three spots at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 at stake, all of the top contenders have doubled down on their efforts to secure a spot in Moscow.
Asian powerhouse Japan, who finished ranked number one last season, and runners-up Hong Kong are once again fancied to be at the helm of a bigger and better HSBC A7s series - expanded to three ranking events this season with the Mumbai Sevens joining the Borneo Sevens and the Shanghai Sevens. The fourth event on this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series will be held in Singapore.
Adding another dimension this season is the fact that the series rankings after Mumbai will serve to decide the seedings for the fourth and final HSBC A7s event in 2012, the Singapore Sevens in November, which will also play host to the Rugby World Cup Sevens Asian qualifiers. This has resulted in all three ranking tournaments drawing a record 10 core teams in 2012 making the competition even tougher.
“We will be focusing on one match at a time. In recent years the level of all Asian countries has increased dramatically and we know that in sevens anything can happen. So we will have to be at our best consistently,” said Japan’s new coach Tomohiro Segawa.
Japan will retain four members of the squad which figured in last year’s HSBC World Series – Yusaku Kuwazuru, Katsuyuki Sakai, Kazushi Hano and Lote Tuqiri – and will be led by half-back Koji Wada, a member of the 2010 Asian Games gold medal-winning team.
But the players to watch could be twins Kenichi and Shinichi Yokoyama who turn out for Ricoh Black Rams in the Japan Top League and come highly rated by coach Segawa.
Segawa didn’t beat around the bush when he said “our first goal is to retain our title as Asian champions and to secure one of three spots for Asia at the World Cup Sevens in Moscow next year”.
But Japan’s long-term goal is also to qualify for the HSBC World Sevens Series, something they failed to achieve at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens last year which decided the three new core teams for the forthcoming season.
“At the moment there are no teams from Asia among the 15 core teams. This is why we must qualify for the World Cup as it will give us an opportunity to play against the big teams,” Segawa said.
Hong Kong has only one new face in the 12-strong squad for the opening leg in Borneo. Towering forward Eniola Gesinde will make his debut in a team packed with familiar faces including skipper Rowan Varty, Salom Yiu, Tsang Hing Hung, Ant Haynes, Simon Leung and the McQueen brothers, Tom and Alex.
“It will be the toughest HSBC Asian Sevens Series ever,” warned Hong Kong coach Dai Rees. “Our focus is on finishing in the top two in the series and also qualifying for the World Cup.”
Japan and Hong Kong will be pressed all the way by a resurgent South Korea – who finished second to Japan in the 15-a-side HSBC Asian Five Nations – the Philippines and China. Other teams who can be a threat on the day include hosts Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
Former USA Sevens coach Al Caravelli has taken over the coaching mantle in the Philippines and will be hoping his new charges can repeat last season’s heroic performance where they finished ranked tied third.
“With World Cup places on the line every country will be sending out their strongest teams. This will make all games very competitive and a top three finish will be difficult. We expect Japan, Hong Kong and China to continue their dominance and also Korea should challenge for a top three spot,” Caravelli said.
The Volcanoes have retained the bulk of their squad from last year and will rely heavily on the experience of players like Harry Morris, Andrew Wolff and Kenneth Stern. The Philippines has never qualified for a World Cup and will be determined to make a mark in Moscow.
“This is a unique opportunity to put the country on the world stage and it will help local development immensely,” Caravelli said.
Another well-known face on the international circuit that will be around is former England sevens captain and HSBC Sevens World Series all-time leading points scorer Ben Gollings who is coach of Sri Lanka, having stepped into the vacancy left by Phil Greening who was appointed coach of Scotland recently.
The presence of Gollings will infuse new confidence amongst Sri Lanka who are capable of pulling the rug from under the feet of more fancied teams on their day.
The HSBC Asian Sevens Series’ Borneo Sevens is again featuring elite women’s rugby action in the Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens championship which begins today, (August 31), with the finals on Sunday (September 2).
For information on ARFU and the HSBC A7s, contact Sean Moore (+852 9092 8889), firstname.lastname@example.org
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