The PRFU were delighted to be invited to the 2012 Philippine National Games(PNG) by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee. The games were held at in Sta Cruz, Laguna and Governor Jorge “ER” Ejercito Estregan was extremely supportive to host the Rugby 7s event and showcase this Olympic sport to everyone at the newly renovated RECS Sports Stadium.
Eight Men’s teams and three women’s teams registered to compete for the inaugural Philippine National Games Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. The Men’s Division had the Eagles, Ibons, Bison/Tarsiers, Globe Immortals, MAAP Warriors, CBRE Vipers and Mavericks, Clark Rugby Club teams in competition, while the Women had Team Xena, MAAP Lady Warriors and Nomads.
It was an early start with the PRFU supplying a bus for the participants to make the three hour journey south. The sun was shining and temperatures soared to the high thirties as the teams took the field to play Rugby 7s in the aim of winning positions for the upcoming SEA Games, which will be held in Myanmar in 2013.
Rugby 7s is an exciting sport and promotes action, speed, agility and teamwork and is a perfect sport for any young Filipino athletes who enjoy the challenge of playing a dynamic contact sport. The PRFU restricted participation to the PNG Rugby 7s tournament to Filipino Heritage players only. It was exciting to see over 150 Filipino athletes take the field to compete to become the top Rugby 7s teams in the country.
The Men’s competition saw the teams do battle in a round robin format and then break into A and B Divisions for the finals. The Alabang Eagles were ranked the number one team entering the competition and they would have to face some formidable opponents in the top division. The semi finals were the Eagles against the newly formed CBRE Vipers, which the Eagles won to move through to the final.
In the other semi-final the young guns from Clark Rugby Club (CRC) who were all ex Bahay Bata orphanage players proved that size in Rugby 7s is not everything as they ran around their opponents displaying deft rugby skills and teamwork. Displaying excellent teamwork, the 16 – 18 year old Foundation players defeated their bigger and older opponents, the Globe Immortals, to set up a David and Goliath encounter in the Men’s A Division Gold Medal game.
On this occasion, it was the Eagles who proved too strong for their younger counterparts and they won the inaugural PNG Final by 29 – 5. The Eagles thoroughly deserved this win and have written their names in the history books as the first Men’s team to win a PNG Gold Medal in Rugby 7s.
The Men’s B Division Final was played between the MAAP Warriors and the newly formed Rugby 101 club the Bison-Tarsiers. It was a tribute to see the oldest Filipino Rugby Club, the MAAP Warriors play in this final, especially when they had travelled overnight all the way from Bataan. The MAAP Warriors had shown glimpses of brilliance throughout the round games and stalwart coaches Rick Hartley and Tony Shibley worked with the players to tighten up the defense for the final. This tactic certainly worked as MAAP ran out winners by 22 – 5. It was a great victory for the Warriors and is a tribute to the pioneer Filipino Rugby Club that they won their first ever PNG medal.
The Women’s Final was the best game of the day. Both the Nomads and Team Xena sides had several National Team players and this proved to be the ingredient for an exciting and competitive final. Both sides were locked at 7 all at the final siren and it wasn’t until National team legend, Manila Santos, broke through the Nomads’ defense in extra time to score a runaway try from 60m out. The Golden Point gave Team Xena the Women’s Division Gold Medal.
The PNG allowed the PRFU to showcase the growing sport of Rugby 7s and the Filipino athletes were extremely proud to compete to win National PSC medals. Rugby 7s is now played at the SEA, Asian and Olympic Games, and the PSC are looking to build further Rugby 7s programs to claim medals at these events.
The PRFU would like to thank the Philippine Sports Commission for the inviting Rugby 7s to be a sport at the 2012 Philippine National Games and Governor Jeorge “ER” Ejercito Estregan for hosting the tournament at the world class RECS Sports Stadium in Sta Cruz Laguna.
Both PSC Commissioner, Jolly Gomez (PSC Commissioner) and Governor ER attended the PNG awards ceremony and were delighted at the level of skill, participation and sportsmanship displayed by all the Filipino teams that played in the 2012 Rugby 7s Philippine National Games tournament.
Official PNG results that are registered with the Philippine Sports Commission for 2012:
Photo gallery (all photos on this page by Michael Fernandez)
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