Round 2 of the JML 15s league took place at Nomad Sports Club last Saturday and it was fantastic to see all the local teams out playing the traditional 15s format of Rugby Union. This was the first time that a number of the players had played 15s Rugby and it was obvious that they relished the opportunity to play the more physical style of the game.
In very hot conditions it was the women that kicked off the first game with a number of the players starting to prepare for the upcoming Women's International games:
June 2 - Philippines v Singapore to be played in Cebu
June 13 - 17 - Asian Women's 15s Division 2 Championships against Laos, Singapore and Uzbekistan to be played in Manila
The Women played two games of 7s style rugby and it was Team Xena team that took victory in both games. Several National team players showed that they are ready to fire up for the Philippine team in June, with Rose De La Cruz scoring both tries for Team Xena and Cassie Umali scoring and converting for Nomads in the first match, which left team Xena the winners in a very tight battle by 14 - 10.
The second game saw National team second rower Reena Novero busting the defence open with several block busting runs which paved the way for the Team Xena backline to run in two unanswered tries and eventualy win the second game by 10 - 0.
National team coaches Susan Konstanty and Expo Mejia were very pleased with the quality of Rugby that they witnessed. With the Asian Women's Championships being held in Manila in a months time, they explained that all the women need to be playing top level, competitive Rugby from now until the June 13th tournament to be able to be contenders in these championships.
The next game was the Plate Division match between the Nomads Carabaos and Manila Hapons which saw a number of expats take the field. The game was extremely close in the first half with the Carabaos taking an early lead through a try by veteran player Nigel Barrett. To the Hapons credit, they kept the pressure on the Caraboas which finally paid dividends when they scored just before the halftime break to take a 10 - 7 lead. The Hapons came out in the second half and continued to apply the pressure and it looked they were going to surprise their more fancied opponents when Jun Park scored a great solo try. However, this seemed to spark the Carabaos into the game and the second half became a one-sided affair with the Carabaos scoring the next eight tries, Nigel Barrett led the way with his second try of the game and National U20s player, Daniel Melrose also scored and converted three times for the Carabaos to win the game comfortably by 38 - 12.
The Bowl game, was by all observers the best game of the day with the Globe Immortals taking on the Tarsiers/Bison team. It also saw Cassie Umali referee her first game of 15s Rugby and what a game to make debut. Both teams were certainly fired up for a win and it was Chester Anin from Globe that scored the first try to help Globe begin the first half with a 5 - 0 lead.
The Globe team seemed to have the upper hand in the first half and both teams were playing an open style of rugby trying to outflank each other with their speedy backs. Globe finally realised that 15s Rugby must be dominated in the forwards before running wide and Rafael De Colnet scored the second try for Globe and extended the lead to 10 - 0.
The Tarsier/Bisons under coach Paul Churchill rallied at halftime and came out with a more focused gameplan. They started to control the ball in the forwards, and this new tactic paid off when Bisons flanker Noel Villa scored and game was hung in the balance at 10 -5. This certainly gave the Tarsier/Bisons a new lease of life and they immediately went straight back at the Globe team with some strong runs up the middle of the field from National U16 player Tim Churchill. This time it was the Tarsiers/ Bisons hooker Merick Magdarang who scored on the back of some good ruck work by the Tarsiers/Bison forwards to equalize the game at 10 - 10. Tim Churchill converted the try and the Tarsier/Bisons team took the lead for the first time in the game with two minuted left to play. Globe had one last shot at scoring but lost possession and the Tarsier/Bisons celebrated their first victory of the season with a score of 12 - 10.
The last game of the day was plalyed between the Manila Nomads and a touring side from Hong Kong, the Discovery Bay Pirates. The Nomads had defeated the Cebu Dragons last weekend in the opening round of the JML 15s League by 53 - 0 and were primed to take the game against the newly formed club from Hong Kong.
The Nomads have had an outstanding year so far, winning the Bostik 10s League and the Plate Final at the Manila 10s International Rugby Festival. They have been looking forward to playing the 15s season as most of their big forwards relish the hard physical nature of 15s Rugby. Under new coach, Phil Gittus who himself is a front row player, the Nomads have come up with a very forward-orientated gameplan which worked to perfection on Saturday with Nomads scoring their first three tries through the forwards mauling the ball through the Discovery Bay opposition.
Chris Anderson and Paul Ingram were on the back of two 15m mauls to crash over for tries which was followed by a third try by prop Nick Treweeke. The Nomads never looked threatened as they took a 38 - 0 lead into the halftime break. The Discovery Bay team asked a few of the local players to help in the second half but the Nomads machine was in full throttle as they eventually won the game by 55 - 0. This looks ominus as the Nomads take on their cross town rivals next week, the Alabang Eagles. After two games of 15s this season, the Nomads have scored 108 points and have not reliquished a point against them.
Round 3 will be played next Saturday, May 26th at the new home of the Alabang Eagles, The Eagles Nest. Situated in the Southern Plains development, the Eagles Nest is accessible via the Silangan Exit on the South Luzon Expressway.
Stay connected with us!