The U14/16 Junior Volcanoes have completed their second tour of Hong Kong, with both sides playing two matches. The combined scores across both age groups was 100 points For and 100 points Against! Only an accountant would notice that. But they were two very different days.
The detailed game reports are outlined further below, but for about half of the boys this was their first rugby tour and the bonds that have been formed will last forever. A combination of players from the Clark Rugby Club, International School Manila, British School Manila, EIS and Brent International School formed the core of the touring party.
Delayed for an hour by Cebu Pacific on the Friday evening, the touring party had dinner at the HK Airport and then enjoyed the hour long trip to the YMCA at Ma On Shan in the New Territories. Six to a room the boys were up early to a “not so sumptuous” Hong Kong breakfast.
With little time to consider the opulence of their surroundings the boys were soon on the bus again and off to Kings Park to confront the Hong Kong National Select Teams.
Game 1 – Philippine Under 14s National Team vs Hong Kong National Team Select Under 14s
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) were aware that the junior Volcanoes had enjoyed a couple of cakewalks last year, and accordingly they had selected the best of their juniors and even in the warm-ups it was obvious that we were going to be in for a very physical tussle.
The score was 31-7 to the Hong Kong boys with AJ Brown touching down for us and Kai Stroem converted the try. The U14s were generally very competitive for long periods in the match and played the game right out. The team made a good comeback in the 2nd half to score a try and at 3 tries to 1 we were again challenging the opposition line when they broke away for their fourth and decisive score.
AJ Brown was voted our best player by the opposition coaches.
Game 2: Philippine Under 16s National Team vs Hong Kong National Team Select Under 16s
As with the U14s the Hong Kong team was clearly a select bunch of the cream of Hong Kong rugby at this age level. Hong Kong were physically much stronger in most positions, and dominated the game. They scored early through a simple move through the backs, and the Phlippine boys knew they were in for a long afternoon. This was exacerbated when, at the same time during the first half, we lost our vigorous prop, Sabino Padilla, to what was later diagnosed as a broken arm. And Kaelum Madera took a knock to the head whilst making a brave mid-field tackle and could take no further part in the match. The final score was 62 – 0.
The boys never took a backward step and captain Tim Churchill was named our best player by the opposition coaches.
After getting confirmation that Kaelum was OK and that Sabino would need to return to Manila with his parents on the Saturday evening, the touring group travelled to our accommodation near Sai Kung, and enjoyed a well-deserved pool session, followed by dinner in the local Sai Kung village. The boys had some free time to roam around this charming coastal fishing village, but were home in bed before 10 pm, bruised but optimistic that fortunes would be more favourable the next day. And they were.
Game 3: Philippine Under 14 National Team vs Police Breakthrough/Kowloon Lions
The U14s were allowed to exhibit all their skills and put into place the plans that had been drilled into them by Coaches Melrose and Brown over the last several weeks, with the assistance of forwards coach Fergus Mitra.
Stamping his authority on the match Kai Stroem scored within the first two minutes and then the backs got to work with a try to AJ before Tito Hodgens also barreled over near the posts. Shams Shamsuddin scored an excellent individual try and at half-time the Volcanoes had taken a commanding 26 – 0 lead.
In the second half Josh Whyte was flinging the ball wide to the backs and it paid off handsomely with Pierre Delaport scoring, followed by Shams again and Mu Brown. Then came perhaps the highlight of the match when Jake Wahl discovered that running straight and hard is the forte of any second-rower and he scored two scintillating tries to put the icing on the cake.
The final score was 57 – 0.
Details of scores:
Tries: Shams (2), Jake Wahl (2) AJ O’Regan-Brown, Tito Hodgens, Pierre Delaporte, Mu Brown, Kai Stroem.
Conversions: Kai Stroem (6)
Coaches Award for the Tour: Andrew Melrose
Game 4 : Philippine U16 National Team v Police Breakthrough/Kowloon Lions
The opposition U16s were quite sizeable but did not match the skill of the Volcanoes, and although it took some time to break them down, Tim Churchill led from the front with the first of his two tries for the match. Kai Bechtel was then on the end of a slick backs’ move and then Dan Conboy sprinted through a maze of defenders for a scintillating score. At half-time the boys were comfortable 19 – 0 leaders. After another try to Dan Conboy, the second half moved into a more dour rhythm until Calvin Enderleich pounced upon a loose ball on his wing, sprinted to the line, took his time to decide he was indeed in the in-goal area, and touched down.
The Hong Kong Police boys scored a consolation try towards the end before Tim Churchill finished matters off. Final score was 36 – 7
Details of Scores
Tries: Tim Churchill (2), Dan Conboy (2), Kai Bechtel, Calvin Enderleich.
Conversions: Tim Churchill (2), Dan Conboy (1).
Coaches Awrad for the Tour: Armand Kaufmann
On the administration side, Junnel Palomata, organizing her second tour, was brilliant with her organization, liaison with the Consulate and her obvious caring attitude towards the boys. Thanks also to Rico Barin for supervising the physio side of things (much in action on the Saturday). James Gundry of Quest Philippines deserves appreciation for his generous tour sponsorship and cheers to Rick Santos, who stepped up early on with the juniors for PRFU via the CBRE sponsorship.
But finally, of course, well done to the boys. On the field – a very tough day on the Saturday followed by signs of immense character to bounce back with two solid wins on the Sunday, which made the trip back home more pleasurable.
Also a big thank you to the Pot Bellied Pigs who delivered four large boxes of new rugby boots for distribution to the PRFU Foundation clubs. Thanks also to the HKRFU for arranging the accommodation, grounds, buses and match officials and to the Police Breakthrough team, Robbie Mc Robbie and Steve Tarrant in particular for their hospitality on the Sunday.
The junior Philippine Volcanoes have again done the country proud.Report by Peter LawrenceMore photos here: https://www.facebook.com/JuniorsHKTour2012
The PRFU will be holding the National Underage try outs for the u14, u16 and u18 teams this Sunday at the British School Manila from 1pm - 5pm.
Any players who are turning either 14, 16 and 18 in 2012 can attend these trials.
The Philippine National Underage Teams will play International Games in October (u14 and u16) against Hong Kong and then the u18s will attend the Asian Championships in Taiwan from November 10 - 18th.
Players who wish to play in one of the above National Underage teams MUST attend the National Team trials this Sunday and register to play. Team Coaches and Managers will be present at the British School at 12.30pm to start the registration process.
Players must bring rugby kit for full contact games and training.
Parents are also encouraged to attend the trials and players will be informed about further trials and training sessions at the try outs this Sunday.
Below is a map to the British School Manila field.
Touch Rugby Finals
The CBRE Juniors summer finals were held at the newly opened Eagles’ Nest situated in Silangan, off the South Luzon Expressway in Laguna. The new field was in excellent condition to host the CBRE Juniors’ finals and up to 220 young Rugby and Touch Rugby players travelled down to do battle. The teams came from various schools, clubs and foundations which are all part of the PRFU Juniors Development Program.
In sunny, hot conditions the Finals saw the u10, 12, 14 and 16 teams compete in the Touch Rugby competition from 8.30am – 11am while the u12, 14 and 16 year olds played three finals of tackle Rugby Union on the Eagles’ full sized pitch.
In the u10 Touch competition, the new team from Bulacan defeated the British School team. Bulacan showed that local club teams have the capacity to play touch rugby and this was a great win for them, as they have only been playing and learning rugby for the last three months.
The newly formed Clark Rugby Club (CRC) won the u12s touch rugby championships beating the Tuloy Foundation in a close game by 3-2. It was exciting to watch the flair and enthusiasm displayed by both the PRFU Foundation teams. A number of these young players displayed skills that could see them represent the Philippines in future underage National teams.
The European International School (EIS) won the u14 age category final and it is great to see new schools and teams entering the CBRE Tournament. This age category had the most teams with Tuloy, Eagles, Hapons, BSM and new club Child Hope all entering teams. The EIS Coach and ex National men’s team Captain Romain Barberis was extremely excited to see the next generation of u14 players competing in this competition.
Finally the Tuloy Foundation defeated CRC by 3 – 1 in the u16s touch rugby final. This was one of the best games of the day with a number of players vying for positions in the National u16 Rugby Team later this year.
CBRE Junior Rugby Union Finals
After the 27 touch rugby games the u12, u14 and u16 players regrouped to play three Rugby Union finals. The u12s game saw the Makati Mavericks take on the European International School in a match that the Mavericks won 20 – 5. The game was played in good spirits and some of the younger players from the Clark Rugby Club also helped out to make up the numbers in this final.
The next final was between EIS and BSM. Traditional enemies France v England in the 6 Nations saw a much closer game as both teams were playing for pride of their homelands. The French School ran out eventual winners by 12 – 5 in what was the closest game of the day. All the players in this age group will be considered for the National u14s team tour to Hong Kong later this year.
The last juniors’ final was the u16s game where a number of last year’s National u14 and u16 players took to the field in the hope of winning the game and ultimately selection in this year’s National u16s team. It was the Makati Mavericks who put in a dominant display over the Clark Rugby Clark winning the game by 38 – 14.
The PRFU wish to thank CBRE Philippines for its continued sponsorship of the Juniors Tournament as well as all the players, parents, schools, clubs and volunteers who made this series a success.
(photos courtesy of CBRE Philippines)
What a tour! What rugby! What coaching! What interesting accommodation!
On behalf of the PRFU Board, congratulations to all those involved with this tour. In short, on the rugby front, Philippines scored 144, the opposition scored 10.
The detailed game reports are outlined further below, but for many of the boys this was their first rugby tour and the bonds that have been formed will last forever. A combination of players from the Bahay Bata orphanage, International School Manila and British School Manila formed the core of the touring party with other single members from Cebu International School, Manila Japanese School, Makati Mavericks and England.
The touring party was met at the airport by Tim Smith (U16, Nuneaton, UK) and his father, Martin, who generously volunteered to be tour physiotherapist. The boys checked into the well-positioned, but less than luxurious UK Hostel within the Chung King Mansions in Nathan Road, Kowloon.
With little time to consider the opulence of their surroundings the boys were soon enjoying a meal (pre-arranged by the helpful Philippine consulate staff in Hong Kong) which was consumed at the nearby TGIF after negotiations with resident Filipino staff involving the purchase of brownies for dessert.
The boys dispersed to either Block A or Block E and were asleep by around midnight. On the basis of professional nutritionist advice, breakfast on Saturday morning was taken at the local McDonalds and the boys undertook the longish bus journey to Sandy Bay, located within the Hong Kong University.
By mid-morning, a largish contingent of Filipino supporters were congregating at Sandy Bay as the U14 boys were prepared with their strappings and received their final instructions from Coaches Melrose(s) and Brown. There was a quiet confidence among the group as the tourists had now largely been together for a period of 9-10 weeks, as the tour was originally scheduled for early October 2011.
Game 1 – Philippine Under 14s National Team vs Hong Kong Select Under 14s
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) had selected from their various clubs the best of their “steps” players, i.e. their better HK Chinese ethnic players. It soon became apparent that this group would be no match for our well-drilled boys.
After a tense beginning, with errors from both sides, the Philippines opened the scoring with a try in the corner to Andrew Holgate. Soon afterwards, Andrew left the game with a twisted ankle and played no further part in this match (but see the Game 3 report).
With the nerves now well settled, Fergus Gregori dotted down a 5-pointer and AJ O’Regan-Brown (“AJ”) at outside center scored the first of his hat-trick for the match. The half-time scored stood at 31-0 after Jeremy Churchill bustled over and AJ burst through for his second.
The front row of Mike Koh, Kaelum Madera and Kai Stroem (the skipper), were now asserting their authority on the match and the score would have been greater if Mike Koh, after a rampaging run had not decided to place the ball down before he reached the try line.
Unfortunately, Dan O’Reilly-Conboy also had to leave the field with a sore wrist but the coaches had stressed the importance of all 22 members of the squad contributing to the team’s performance and Cathal Moylan and Jamie Young ably stepped up to the challenge.
Into the second half and Andrew Melrose’s continued marshaling of his pack and quick service combined with Josh Whyte’s decision-making and distribution led to Cathal’s first try and AJ’s completion of his hat-trick. By now, the subs were having an impact and David Wensley was instrumental in Cathal’s second try. Ryan Santos scored an opportunist’s try and JR Valdez put the icing on the cake just before the final whistle.
Shamz Shamsuddin, Ryan Padilla and Jun-Jun Chua let nothing past them in defence and were creative going forward. Oliver Booth relished the bullocking work when he came on and Hamish Seddon made an incisive break and was unlucky not to score. John Becker was busy on his wing, while Maiki Ueda had a strong match often making yards with his trademark pick and drive.
Overall, a resounding victory: Philippines 60, HK Select 0.
Tries: AJ O’Regan-Brown (3), Cathal Moylan (2), Andrew Holgate, Fergus Gregori, Jeremy Churchill, Ryan Santos, JR Valdez
Conversions: AJ O’Regan-Brown (5)
Best Back: AJ O’Regan- Brown
Best Forward: Kai Stroem
Game 2: Philippine Under 16s National Team vs Hong Kong Select Under 16s
It was clear that this Philippine Touring Group had “come to play” and the HK U16 team seemed more prepared for our older Junior Volcanoes. With Tim Smith (fly-half), from the UK, having met his teammates only the night before, it was understandable that early on in this game there would be a battle in the forwards.
Taking advantage of possession and territory domination, and after several strong runs by Tim Churchill (No. 8), Tim Smith opened the scoring with a penalty. The boys known as “the bookends”, Carlo Albert and Sabino Padilla, assisted by their “partner in front-row crime” Kai Bechtel, were wearing down their opponents with their strong runs and crunching tackles.
After a strong start, Jack Boswell was forced to leave the field with a painful injury to his back, but as with the U14s, Joseph Flynn was ready to step into the breech and had a strong game thereafter.
Almost inevitably, Tim Churchill broke through for the first try, which was converted by the “other Tim” and the Philippines led 10-0 at the break.
Miguel Ayala had been impressive in tackling heavier opponents and Fuederiko Sampei was also strong in defence and Justin Semana was effective at the break-down and almost scored when unfortunately he placed the ball down on the foot of an opponent over the line.
If the scoreline at half-time, 10-0, did not truly reflect the dominance of the Philippines, when it became 10-5 after an opportunist try by HK immediately after the break, Paul Churchill’s team could easily have become rattled. Instead, after multiple excellent phases, Sabino saw a gap near the try-line and needed no further invitation to score under the posts. Minutes later, Tim Churchill was in for his second try and the lead had stretched to 24-5. By this stage, more use was being made of the backline, as Shoko Choga replaced Jonnel Madrona, who had been very tidy. Arthur Chee and Gio Raasas had let nothing past them all game and Fergal Feeney and Callum Gregori (captain) had been dangerous and always warranted attention from the HK defence.
After the final water break, Tim Smith made the game safe with his second penalty and Arthur Chee reaped due reward for his excellent game, capping off a fluent movement with the final try of the game, which was converted. Brian Ko and Ronald Gonzaga got their first taste of international rugby and the U16s ran out deserved winners 34-5.
Tries: Tim Churchill (2), Sabino Padilla, Arthur Chee
Penalties: Tim Smith (2)
Conversions: Tim Smith (4)
Best Back: Arthur Chee
Best Forward: Sabino Padilla
After two well-deserved victories, the boys were able to watch two first-class men’s matches at the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC), after lunch provided there by the HKFRU. A sumptuous buffet dinner by the poolside at the HKFC was enjoyed before the boys collapsed into their beds – the U14s a little nervous about the prospect of playing the highly regarded HKFC U14 side early the next morning.
Game 3: Philippine Under 14 National Team vs HKFC Under 14 Team
Due to a withdrawal earlier in the week of a local club opponent, HKFC had graciously agreed to grant our request for “more rugby” by allowing our U14 national team to play them.
Coach Steve Melrose admitted (only later) to being nervous about the game. We were playing a team who would be experienced and on their home turf. After such a splendid Saturday, anything less than a win may have taken the gloss from the excellent results of the previous day.
The first-half performance in this game will surely go down in PRFU’s short history as a testament to excellent coaching, motivated players and a willingness to show the rest of Asia that Philippine rugby players, of any age, should not be underestimated.
By half-time, the U14s led by 36-0 after a breathtaking display of powerful forward play, complemented by incisive running from the backs on the expansive main pitch at HKFC. In particular, our Bahay Bata boys, having grown in confidence from the previous day, led the way. Jun-Jun Chua scored two brilliant tries and Ryan Padilla touched down in the corner. Shamz had scored the boys’ first try and Dan O’Reilly-Conboy galloped in for the second. Andrew Holgate (yes, recovered from the previous day) showed a turn of speed and a swerve that any experienced winger would be proud of. All of this on the back of a rampaging forward pack – Kai Stroem, Kaelum Madera, Maiki Ueda and Fergus Gregori excelling. Daniel O’Reilly Conboy was safe as houses on the restart, bravely soldiering on with his injury from the previous day.
Half-time could not arrive early enough for the HKFC coaches and to their credit a change of game plan and additional determination saw the Philippines pinned in their own half early in the second half. HKFC scored a try wide out, but they would be their first and last score of the game. AJ scored a break-away try, and then came, perhaps, the try of the weekend. After a fluent back line movement, the ball arrived with David Wensley, who hared off down the wing. Realising that he would be tackled and after a superb initial dummy, David offloaded perfectly to AJ with an inside pass, and they both went off to celebrate under the posts. Duly converted, it was a fitting finale to a fine weekend of competitive rugby for our boys.
HKFC had taped the game and the boys were thrilled to be able to re-live their exploits on the big screen after their shower.
Philippines 0, HK Select 0.
Tries: Jun Jun Chua (2), AJ O’Regan-Brown (2), Shamz Shamsuddin, Dan O’Reilly-Conby, Andrew Holgate, Ryan Padilla.
Conversions: AJ O’Regan-Brown (5)
Best Back: Jun Jun Chua
Best Forward: Fergus Gregori
HKFC had been superb hosts, and after a delicious lunch on the Sportsman’s Bar patio, thank yous and awards were given formally.
Over the weekend, positive comments were made by spectators and the referees not only on the athletic ability of our boys but on their technical play, which made it obvious that they had been expertly coached. Huge, huge thanks to the hours put into the coaching by Steve Melrose, Paul Churchill, Bill Brown and Daniel Melrose – simply superb. Having agreed with our opponents to allow rolling substitutes, all players enjoyed substantial game time.
On the administration side, very new into her new job, Junnel Palomata (now nick-named Aunty Junnel), was brilliant with her organization, liaison with the Consulate and her obvious caring attitude towards the boys. Thanks also to Martin Smith for supervising the physio side of things (no serious injuries to report). Cheers to Ericson Rizal, the Bahay Bata guardian. Rick Santos, who stepped up early on with the juniors via the CBRE sponsorship, and was a great support to the team all weekend.
But finally of course, well done to the boys. On the field – sensational. Off the field, in challenging circumstances surrounding the accommodation, they were responsive and respectful.
The Junior Philippine Volcanoes have done the country proud.
1. Kai Stroem (Captain)
2. Kaelum Madera
3. Mike Koh
4. Fergus Gregori
5. Maiki Ueda
6. JR Valdez
7. Jeremy Churchill
8. Daniel O'Reilly-Conboy
9. Andrew Melrose
10. Joshua Whyte
11. Shamz Shamsuddin
12. Jun-Jun Chua
13. AJ O'Regan-Brown
14. Andrew Holgate
15. Ryan Padilla
16. Oliver Booth
17. Hamish Seddon
18. Jamie Young
19. Ryan Santos
20. David Wensley
21. Cathal Moylan
22. John Becker
Under 16s1. Sabino Padilla
2. Kai Bechtel
3. Carlo Albert
4. Jack Boswell
5. Miguel Ayala
6. Fuederiko Sampei
7. Justin Semana
8. Timothy Churchill
9. Jonnel Madrona
10. Tim Smith
11. Arthur Chee
12. Callum Gregori (Captain)
13. Fergal Feeney
14. Gio Raasas
15. Jesse Dayuno
16. Shoko Choga
17. Joseph Flynn
18. Brian Ko
19. Ronald Gonzaga
Coaching & Support Staff
Stephen Melrose - Senior Coach (U14s)
Bill Brown - Assistant Coach (U14s)
Daniel Melrose - Assistant Coach (U14s/U16s)
Paul Churchill - Senior Coach (U16s)
Junnel Palomata - Tour Manager
Peter Lawrence - Assistant Tour Manager
Ericson Sibal - Bahay Bata Guardian
Martin Smith - Physiotherapist