Bruised but not broken. The embattled National Men’s Rugby Team, known as the Philippine Volcanoes will face the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, May 18 in the closing match of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations competition. Both teams are winless in the series, making Saturday the battle against relegation, with the winner remaining in Asia’s top 5, and the loser relegated to Division 1.
It has been a challenging debut for the Philippines in the Elite Division after practically cruising through the lower divisions since the Volcanoes began competing in the Asian 5 Nations series. Before 2013, the Volcanoes had lost only once (in 2011 to South Korea), a record bested only by perennial A5N champions and still unbeaten Japan.
Despite the losses, the Volcanoes have shown flashes of brilliance in each match, and have vowed to put the pieces together to get the win against fourth-ranked United Arab Emirates. The past week has seen the arrival of veteran players Phil Abraham, Michael de Guzman and Nick Perry to shore up an injury-plagued forward pack. The lessons learned from their first three matches and extended training time together, a challenge the Volcanoes face with players based in different parts of the world, should also serve the Volcanoes in good stead.
Philippines Coach, Jarred Hodges, maintains that the team has stayed positive and is in good spirits in the lead up to Saturday’s match. “It won’t be easy, as UAE have been in the top 5 for a number of years, but we are quietly confident”. Hodges added “We are playing in Manila, and the hometown support never fails to lift the boys’ performance.”
The team that finishes fifth after the end of the six-week long competition will be demoted to Division 1, while the top 4 teams’ remain in the Elite Division and continue their quest to qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2015.
The winner of the Elite Division in 2014 receives outright qualification to the Rugby World Cup 2015, while the Elite Division’s 2nd placer will face the 2nd placers from Africa, Europe and the Americas in a knock-out competition for the 20th & final Rugby World Cup slot.
Where to watch:
Philippines vs. United Arab Emirates
7pm | Saturday, May 18
Rizal Memorial Stadium, Adriatico Ave.
Bleachers: FREE OF CHARGE
Grand Stand: P 200 / P500
available at: http://www.ticketworld.com.ph
The game will be telecast live on Solar Sports channel.
Live scoring on www.twitter.com/PhilippineRugby
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