The Philippine national women’s rugby team, the Lady Volcanoes finished with an impressive win/loss record in Brunei over the weekend for the 2018 Asia Trophy Series. The Lady Volcanoes bagged the silver medal winning five games straight, before falling just short in the Gold Medal match.
The 2018 Asia Trophy Series was contested over two days, with 10 teams competing. The Philippines drew Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal in Pool B; in Pool A saw Indonesia, Malaysia, Guam, Brunei and Laos.
The Lady Volcanoes, sponsored by First Pacific and MVP Sports Foundation, started their first game with a strong performance defeating Uzbekistan 12 points to 10. Uzbekistan’s size advantage was outclassed with the Philippines skill and speed. Not long after, the Volcanoes backed this performance up, comfortably defeating Pakistan 38 points to 0 in their second match. In their third match of the day, the Philippines faced Top seeds in Pool B India and held onto win 17 to 10, a stellar performance after Day 1 where the Philippines remained the only unbeaten team on the first day.
Early on day two the Philippines handed Nepal a 43 points to nil victory, securing their position on the top of Pool B with four wins from four matches. The Volcanoes progressed to the Top 4 and faced Guam in the Semi Final, where the Philippines held onto win 10 to 7 to book their place in the Gold Medal match against Malaysia.
The Malaysians suffered an earlier defeat over Guam on day one, however defeated Uzbekistan in Semi Final (2) to also secure their position in the Gold Medal match. The competition all weekend remained as a tightly contested tournament. The Lady Volcanoes were confident with going unbeaten the whole tournament, boasting the only undefeated team as they approached the Gold Medal match.
The Philippines played exciting Rugby 7s all weekend, featuring key performances from several players in the national team according to Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby “It was great to see the team perform. Aiumi Ono was outstanding, Rassiel Sales showed pure speed, Sylvia Tudoc with fantastic Rugby awareness and Nicole Kovanen with brute strength and go forward. The whole team as a group played attacking Rugby, it was great to watch”
The Gold Medal match remained tightly contested ---the Malaysians scoring first, making it 5 points to nil. The Volcanoes returned with a converted try to take the lead 7 to 5. However it was the Malaysians who broke away scoring making it 10 to 7 late in the second half; the Philippines running out of time and finishing with the silver medal.
“It was a fantastic weekend for women’s rugby in Asia to see 10 teams represented in this tournament - the most we’ve ever had competing for the trophy. The level of competition was very competitive especially from Guam, Uzbekistan and Malaysia. We went undefeated the entire tournament until the final match against Malaysia and although we wish the final result was different, I couldn’t be more proud of how the team performed overall. Not only is it the best result the team has ever had in a single tournament, the entire team was composed of Philippine homegrown players. The program is on track for a competitive rematch against Malaysia in the Southeast Asian Games next year,” shared Ada Milby, Head Coach for the Philippine team.
“The Ladies looked strong, well-conditioned and well prepared for the final match, however once bounce of the ball the wrong way in 7s rugby can cost you. Unfortunately for us Malaysia took their opportunities and maximized points when they were on offer, credit to both teams, a great match to watch, very proud of our girls efforts the entire weekend,” shared Chris Everingham, Performance and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Volcanoes.
Women’s Rugby in the Philippines continues to go from strength to strength; the U18 National Team will travel to India on Wednesday to compete in the U18s Asia Sevens Championships next weekend in Bhubaneswar.
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