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.
The national women’s rugby team, proudly sponsored by First Pacific and the MVP Sports Foundation are hoping to repeat success for Philippine Rugby as they compete for the 2018 Asia Trophy Series in Brunei this weekend.
The Lady Volcanoes will face India, Pakistan, Nepal and Uzbekistan in Pool B. Other nations in the Trophy Series include Malaysia, Laos, Brunei and Guam.
The women’s program has had an internal boost for 2018, following their second place finish in June for the Asia Rugby Championships (ARC) according to their General Manager Jake Letts.
“Women’s Rugby in the Philippines has made some positive strides in the last 12 months, we recently competed in the ARC in June, a first time since 2012 and our National Youth Team competed in the Youth Olympic Qualifiers late last year, two tournaments that usually were not in our international calendar however thanks to the PRFU, our sponsors and the Philippine Sports Commission, we are able to raise funding and compete in more tournaments each year and develop the program” shared Letts.
The Lady Volcanoes have recently been linked to MVP Sports Foundation, a partnership with the aim to medal at next year’s Southeast Asian Games. “We have working closely with MVPSF and First Pacific since 2014, most evidently in our National Youth Programs. For 2018 however we strategised together to see what other programs would benefit their support, our National Women’s Program is one that offers huge potential considering their success over the last few years” Letts added.
The Philippines will be using the Trophy Series as a preparation tournament for the SEA Games next year. Rassiel Sales and Sylvia Tudoc of the Santos Knight Frank Mavericks both selected after impressive performances in the local domestic competitions. Alongside these two include Dixie Yu and Madille Salinas from Cebu, and experienced leaders Acee San Juan from Eagles RFC and Aiumi Ono of the Makati Chiefs all aiming to put their best foot forward for the country.
A strong base of locally developed players and local domestic competitions presented an opportunity for the Philippines to be well prepared for the upcoming tournament. The Lady Volcanoes have been preparing for months, under the guidance of new Head Coach Ada Milby, Performance Manager and Strength & Conditioning Coach Chris Everingham, and team leader Kaye Honoras.
The competition will be held at Seria, Brunei, at the Panaga Club. The Philippines face Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India on day 1 of the tournament. The finals to be played on day 2.
Globe Ph Volcanoes shock Asia; secure a spot in the prestigious Hong Kong 7s World Series Qualifier in 2019
After an intense seven weeks of competition, the Philippine Volcanoes powered by Globe Telecom, have achieved what only they knew was possible -- qualification into the 2019 Hong Kong Sevens, the premier tournament on the World Sevens Series competition.
The Volcanoes found themselves in the final stage of the three-leg 2018 Asia Sevens Series in Sri Lanka this weekend, needing no less than a Bronze medal finish to clinch over-all third place in the series behind powerhouses Japan and Hong Kong.
The first day saw the Volcanoes up against Asian Games bronze medalists, Korea where an in-form Philippine team came up with a convincing 34 to 5 victory. In the second match, the Volcanoes were up against arch rivals from Southeast Asia and current SEA Games gold medalists Malaysia, with the Volcanoes holding on to win 24 to 19. Despite the win, the Volcanoes didn’t come away unscathed, losing 4 players to injuries and a suspension to Vincent Amar Young for an accidental high ball collision.
On day two, three players were ruled unavailable, with Mark Mapacpac Roberts and Robert Luceno Fogerty out from an accidental head collision, while Young still needed to serve his two-game suspension from his Saturday infraction. This however did not stop the fire the Volcanoes had within, as they strung together three consistently good performances against the best Asia has to offer. The Volcanoes led the number one ranked team and over all champions, Japan 12 to 7 early into the second half, matching efforts for majority of the match until falling in the last play of the game which ended 21 to 12 in favor of the champions.
With a two from three standing, the Volcanoes progressed to the semi-finals where they faced second seeds, Hong Kong. In another valiant display, the Volcanoes showed true grit almost forcing one of the biggest upsets of the season with Hong Kong needing to score in the final seconds to secure their spot in the grand final. The 19 to 12 loss was heartbreaking for the Volcanoes but also showed them that they could pose a serious challenge to the best teams in Asia.
The final match of the day was written to script, the Philippines faced tournament hosts Sri Lanka Tuskers for spot in the Top 3. Both teams were on equal points on the ladder and both had an even head-to-head record over the course of the series. The Tuskers defeated the Volcanoes in round 1 in Hong Kong, the Volcanoes got their retribution in round 2 in Korea two weeks later and they now faced each other for the third and final time to decide who takes the last ticket to the 2019 Hong Kong Sevens and a chance to qualify for the World Series. The Volcanoes saved their best performance to last, securing a 19 to 7 victory over the home town heroes.
“It’s an amazing feeling! We knew we had the team to do it but to play with only 8 fit players against the top teams in Asia and to perform the way we did -- I’m over the moon and so proud of the boys” shared Volcanoes Captain, Christopher Arpon Bird.
The Volcanoes finish 2018 in third place in Asia, and currently sit in first place amongst their southeast Asian neighbors, an achievement nothing short of remarkable according to their General Manager, Jake Letts.
“It’s a special feeling for the team, they deserve it. The coaching staff and players have worked so hard for a very long period of time. It has taken years to get back to this point. The way they performed – I have only the upmost respect for what they achieved and can continue to achieve. Credit goes to all involved, past and present, sponsors, our staff and Executive Board and the entire Philippine Rugby community,” Letts added.
It has taken the Volcanoes six years to return to the world’s elite, last qualifying for the Hong Kong 7s in 2012 and reaching the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Russia, a year later. Since then, the Volcanoes have tirelessly battled it out amongst Asia’s best for the chance to once again compete with the world’s best teams.
The result will be etched into the history books, marking a special occasion for Philippine Rugby who has their sites on growth and development in the years to come.
The Volcanoes won’t have an easy path, they take on Korea (current Asian Games Bronze Medalists) and have to by pass an improving China and the ever experienced Sri Lanka.
“Currently on the standings, there are 3 points that separate 3rd place and 6th place. Each team has either won or lost a match between each. We defeated Korea and Sri Lanka, China defeated us, Sri Lanka defeated China, Korea defeated Sri Lanka, the list goes on. It’s just too close to call. However come the last leg next weekend, the rankings will be decided as we all face off against each other again and we like our chances, considering we have defeated each of these teams at the recent events” Letts shared.
Head Coach Frano Botica, and his assistants David Johnston and Performance Manager Chris Everingham have a heavy artillery to select from. Returning national players include Donald Canon Coleman, Ryan Reyes Howe and Justin Villazor Coveney will be added to the team from the last tournament. These players will only increase the Philippines chances of winning according to Everingham.
“It’s likely the most competitive Training Camp we have had for the 2018 Series, player availability wise anyways. The first two training camps have been strong and tough, however the third will be hard, if not harder, ” shared Everingham
The Volcanoes will face off with Korea, Japan and Malaysia in Pool A in Colombo on October 13 and 14 at Racecourse Stadium.
The team will depart Philippine shores on Thursday in preparations for the tournament
The Philippine Volcanoes stormed home in Round two of the 2018 Asia Sevens Series, winning three from three matches on the final day in Incheon, Korea.
After falling just short of China in the first match of the tournament by one try, the Volcanoes re-grouped and saw their eventual path consist of must win games against Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka. The Volcanoes achieved a Top 4 finish in the first round in Hong Kong and were adamant of repeating this feat in Korea.
“A Top 4 finish in Asia Rugby has always been our aim, that’s where we believe we rank best in all of Asia. An unfortunate loss to China (eventual Bronze medalists in Incheon) cost our path to the Top 4 for this round however stringing three wins from three matches on Sunday maintains our goal of reaching a Top 3 finish overall in the series” shared Christopher Arpon Bird, Team Captain for the Volcanoes.
With Japan too strong on Day 1, the Volcanoes faced a daunting task to remain in the race for a Top 3 finish overall in the series which will be decided in two weeks in Colombo, Sri Lanka. “It’s always a tough position to be in on Sunday, three games, needing three wins is no easy task. The level of Rugby in Asia is so tight this year, it was a great performance for the Volcanoes to remain undefeated on Day 2” shared Jake Letts, the National Teams General Manager for Philippine Rugby.
The Volcanoes kicked off their Sunday session with a dominant display over Malaysia 24 to 5. Followed by another brilliant attacking match over Chinese Taipei 36 to 7. The last and final game was by far the performance of the tournament, defeating Sri Lanka 19 to 17 at the death. A try to Ned Plarizan Stephenson in the last minute secured the important victory for the Globe Volcanoes.
“The win over Sri Lanka was the most special, a team traditionally always consistently good at Sevens Rugby in Asia. Our team has now beaten, Korea, China and adding Sri Lanka to the list for some of our most recent events. Positive signs of development for this national program” shared an ecstatic Bird.
Some of the Volcanoes best came from notable performances across the park, Vincent Amar Young, Edlen Cortez Hernandez and Jonico Ater Hardwick all playing key roles in key sections of the games. Joe Palabay Dawson and Timothy Bweheni from the Eagles RFC once again steering the team well around the paddock.
The Volcanoes return to training camp this week in Laguna, National Coaches Frano Botica, David Johnston and Chris Everingham looking to take Philippine Rugby to another level for the last leg of the series.
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