After two days of intense competition, the Philippine National Men’s team took home the top prize in the Plate Division at the Thailand leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series. They finished ahead of other Asian counterparts including Singapore, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan and finally defeated Thailand on home soil.
It was an up and down affair for the Volcanoes who came second in their pool behind top-ranked Japan on the first day, only to fall to Korea in the Quarter Finals of the Cup Division on the second day. The loss placed them in the Plate Division, where they faced Kazakhstan in the Semi Finals. After trailing 10-0 at halftime, the Volcanoes rallied to win the match 14-10 which set them up for a Finals battle with host country, Thailand.
The Volcanoes started the game with a try by the Philippines’ top-scorer, Gareth Holgate which Thailand responded to with their own try and conversion. Another try by the Philippines brought the score to 10-7 at half time. The start of the second half saw the Volcanoes down to 6 men as Chris Hitch was sent off with a yellow card. Thailand capitalized on the mismatch with a try and conversion which gave them the lead, however upon his return to the pitch, Hitch made up for his earlier mistake by scoring a breakaway try, giving the lead back to the Philippines 15-14. The Philippines scored another try, this time by Sean Lynch and conversion by Holgate, ending the match 22-14 to take the Plate trophy.
“The Thailand 7s has seen an improvement in the Volcanoes rankings for 2013. Although some of our top players were unavailable due to commitments in Japan, the team that attended Thailand showed that we can win at the Asian Championships.” said Volcanoes coach, Matt Cullen.
“The three outstanding players from this tour all attended the Rugby World Cup in June and showed their quality. Chris Hitch was absolutely dynamic in every game, Gareth Holgate was the top try scorer and Volcanoes newcomer Sean Lynch has erupted onto the Asian 7s scene, impressing everyone with his blockbusting runs” he added.
Despite this victory, the Volcanoes are not resting on their laurels, but rather looking ahead to the next two legs of the series and the Asian Games in 2014.
Co-captain Oliver Saunders shares “Our boys showed a lot of heart and determination to finish the tournament by winning the Plate Division, despite having a few injuries. But the most important game is the Cup Quarter Final on Sunday morning -- we need to win that game to consolidate a top 4 finish in each tournament. If we can do that, then we will have a solid ranking heading into the Asian games next year.”
“Of course we are happy that we won the Plate, but we are not content with our performance. " added co-captain Jake Letts. "We know that we can do better. A full game of Sevens Rugby only goes for 15 minutes, so there's really no time to recover from mistakes. We need to eliminate our errors to be able to get the results that we want in Mumbai and Singapore."
The Thailand Sevens was played on September 21-22 in Bang Sean, Pattaya.
The Volcanoes will travel to Mumbai for the third leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series in October and then to Singapore in November for the tournament’s final stage. A good ranking at the end of the year will put the Volcanoes in good stead for the Asian Games 2014 in Korea.
Philippine Volcanoes Thailand 7s Team:
Alexander Norona Aronson
Christian Desacola Enriquez
Christopher Alamil Everingham
Christopher Baltazar Hitch
Gareth Dela Rosa Holgate
Robert Amalay Jones
Jake Robrigado Letts (C)
Sean Celada Lynch
Harry Dionson Morris
Oliver Abalos Saunders (C)
Rupert Dian Zappia
Head coach: Matthew Cullen
Manager: Christopher Hettel
Physiotherapist: Rico Barin
Congratulations to the following players who have been selected to be part of the Lady Volcanoes team for the Asian Women's Sevens Series.
∙ Charmaine Bolando
∙ Tonette Gambito
∙ Kaye Honoras
∙ Luisa Jordan
∙ Nikki Lira
∙ Ada Milby (c)
∙ Astrid Sadaya
∙ Jen Saldo
∙ Madille Salinas
∙ Acee San Juan
∙ Sylvia Tudoc
∙ Cassie Umali
Head Coach: Susan Konstanty
Team Manager: Arlene Trinkler
Physiotherapist: Alyssa Paula Tomas
The team will compete in the Asian Women's Sevens Series which will be held in conjunction with the Thailand Sevens on September 20-22, 2013 at the IBE Chonburi Main Stadium, Bang Sean.
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
Day 1 of the Thailand Sevens at the Bunyajinda Stadium, Royal Thai Police Sports Club, Bangkok started for the Philippines with a hard fought win over the UAE 24 - 17 with the UAE coming home in a strong fashion in the second half. Andrew Wolff crossed the line for the for the first 5-pointer in the opening minute, while new boy Nigel Maher converted scoring his first goal in his debut game for the Volcanoes. Ever-reliable David Carman ran onto an outwide pass and sprinted in for the Volcanoes' second try. One minute later, Chris busted the defence line and scored.
In the second half, the boys tired and UAE attempted a comeback with 3 quick tries. David Carman again crossed for his second match try under the posts, giving Nigel Maher an easy conversion. The final score saw a victory to the Pinoy boys 24 -17 and Coach Matt's Man of the Match award went to Nigel Maher for a great performance in his first cap for the Philippines.
The Team started to gel in the second match, playing a more structured game against Laos. The Volcanoes stretched Laos' defence from the left and right hand side of the field. Team Captain, Chris Everingham opened up score with a bustling run to the line taking out the last line of defence. Nigel Maher found has way in the middle of the field and was hard to detain with the ball in his hand. Aaron Briddon assisted the continuousl attack phases which saw Nigel cross for 2 quick tries. Laos came back with a backline move that saw Vice Captain, Noel Flowers pull off a huge hit on his opponent. Not to be outdone, Chris Hettel made the hit of the day, if not the hit of the tournament, that made the grandstand spectators applaud. Andrew Wolf crossed late in the game taking the final score to 24 -5. Chris Hettel was names Man of the Match.
The final game of the day saw the Philippines explode against the more favoured Japan team and it was 0 - 0 until Japan scored a length of the field try against the run of play to open the game up and ran in two easy tries before halftime. Philippines debutants Jay Coronel and Paulo Jordan played in the second half and the Philippines eventually lost to Japan by 43 - 7, with Man of the Match Andrew Wolff scored the Philippines only try.
The Philippines ended the day with 2 wins and 1 loss, finishing second in their pool and placing them in a Quarter Final game against home favourites Thailand tomorrow afternoon.
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