1. Austin Dacanay
2. Phil Abraham
3. Richard Taylor
4. Nick Pineda
5. Jaime Urquijo
6. Raf Zappia
7. Chris Hitch
8. Michael De Guzman
9. Jake Letts
10. Oliver Saunders
11. Joven Clarke
12. Justin Coveney
13. Gareth Holgate
14. Matt Saunders
15. Michael Letts
16. Michael Duhig
17. Josh Sutcliffe
18. Nick Perry
19. Kit Guerra
20. James Price
21. Rupert Zappia
22. Luke Matthews
Front row L to R: Luke Matthews, Patrice Olivier, Jaime Urquijo, Nick Perry, Michael Letts (Captain), Tyler Perez, Rupert Zappia, Nick Pineda
Middle row: Matt Cullen (Manager), Raf Zappia, Austin Dacanay, Michael de Guzman, Justin Coveney, Gaz Holgate, Chris Hitch (Vice Captain), Josh Sutcliffe, Damian Raper (Physiotherapist)
Top row: Jarred Hodges (Asst. Coach), Richard Taylor, Joven Clarke, James Price, Oliver Saunders, Kit Guerra, Matt Saunders, Michael Duhig, Phil Abraham, Jake Letts, Expo Mejia (Head Coach)
The Philippine National Men's Rugby Team travels to South Korea today to compete in the Division 1 Championships of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Tournament. The Philippines and Japan (Asian 5 Nations Premier Division Champions) are the only teams that remain undefeated in the Asian 5 Nations since the competition's inception in 2008. Playing with a 100% Filipino Heritage squad (defined as having at least 1 grandparent born in the Philippines), the Philippine Volcanoes will face their toughest challenge yet as the underdogs of Division 1.
Their first match will be on Wednesday, June 1 against tournament hosts, South Korea, at the Ansan Wa Stadium. Relegated to Division 1 in 2010, South Korea will be the Philippines' strongest competition, hungry to claw its way back into the Premier Division. The winner of the June 1 match will face the winner of the Singapore vs. Malaysia match for the Championship on Saturday, June 4. The winner of the Championship will be promoted to the Premier Division in 2012.
It has been quite a journey for the Volcanoes as the sport of Rugby in the Philippines is not widely known or played. Their unprecedented ascension from Division 4 to Division 1 has gone largely unnoticed in their home country, which is just now beginning to pay attention. However recognition has never been the Volcanoes' motivation -- the overseas-based players train on their own, then travel to the Philippines at their own expense, with just around a week to practice together before heading to a tournament. They sacrifice personal time with their families, vacation time from work and school, and risk injury every time they step onto the pitch. Composed of Filipino, Fil-Australian, Fil-American, Fil-Spanish, Fil-French and Fil-British players, they are a brotherhood of warriors whose singular vision and hope is to bring glory to their mother country.
After their shock relegation from the top flight in 2010, none of Korea’s Division I competitors should be in any doubt that the new boys are determined to keep their visit to just one year. Hosting the Division I competition in 2011, Korea will be focusing its efforts on a return to winning ways from the team used to being spoken of in the same breath as Japan.
Korea will be relying on a cohort of players who play professionally in Japan, such as second row You Young Nam, named to the Top League first XV in 2010.
Under new coach Des Thornton, the Rugby Lions of Singapore are gunning to regain the A5N Top 5 place they last held in 2009.
To reach their goal, the Lions will need to get past regional rivals Malaysia before facing Korea, one of the historic powerhouses of Asian rugby on a rebuilding mission of its own in 2011.
Malaysian rugby is on the move and is enjoying a run of strong results after winning promotion to Division I from the 2009 Division II tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysians overturned a heavily favoured China XV at home in 2009, despite conceding 34 places on the IRB World Rankings to their Chinese opponents. In their opening match at Division I level, Malaysia narrowly missed out on upsetting its number one rival, Singapore, who edged them 22 – 20.
Behind a large but mobile pack, a canny pair of halfbacks and a pacey group of locals and Fijians out wide, Malaysia will be intent on continuing its ascent of Asian rugby’s ladder and finally staking their claim to Top 5 glory in 2011. Malaysia will be relishing the chance to amend their narrow loss last year in Singapore as they open the Division I against the Rugby Lions – a match that promises to kick off 2011 A5N action with a bang!
One of the surprise packages of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations, the Philippines join Japan as the only team to remain undefeated in HSBC A5N competition since the tournament’s inception in 2008. The Volcanoes ascent has been anything but rocky after winning the Guam Regional in 2008, the Division III competition in 2009 and the Division II competition in India last year. While the team is preparing for an explosive debut in Division I, the challenge has grown immensely with their participation against teams of the calibre of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
Mixing the homegrown pride of Pacquiao with players of Filipino heritage drawn from some of the world’s leading rugby nations, the Philippines Volcanoes have erupted on to the Asian rugby scene.
Under Filipino coach Expo Mejia who has worked with the Waratahs in Australia and other premier international club sides, the Philippines Volcanoes will need a perfectly timed explosion in their opening bout versus Korea if they hope to shake up Division I in 2011.
The Zephyr Communications 15’s League got underway at the Nomad Sports Club last Saturday, May 14 and early markers were put down in their respective divisions by the Alabang Ibons and Nomads.
In the B Division match-up, both teams were brimming with youthful promise, however the major and telling difference, which was reflected in the one-sided score line, was experience. Both of the Paypon brothers have represented the National Under 20’s in the last two seasons and the lessons learnt at that level allow them to dominate in a game such as this. MAAP, not to put too fine a point on it, were chasing shadows as Jovic and elder brother Jeepy attacked relentlessly throughout the entire game.
With no obvious leader and a complete lack of defensive structure, MAAP were sliced open time and again and one had to feel for veteran referee Jay Savage in his valiant attempts to track to the weaving runs of the Ibon’s three-quarters.
Note worthy contributions were made by Jared Harrison, who bagged three tries, Buboy Biazon,Jr. with two and the visiting Cebu scrum-half Jerry Branzuela, playing in the dark environs of the front row, who chipped in with a popular brace.
It was though a day for the two brothers who learnt their rugby at the Tuloy Foundation in Alabang. They put on a stunning display of running rugby and notched six tries between them, in a final score of 87-0. The Hardy’s man of the match award went to Jovic Paypon, who then delivered the bottle of fine red to his mentor Father Rocky at Tuloy; no doubt with the same broad smile on his face as can be seen when he plays the game of rugby.
The second match, in the A Division, was a more traditional hard-fought encounter. The Nomads and the Eagles have had some ferocious battles over the years; at times games have been played with an intensity and focus bordering on the psychotic. That thankfully was not the case on this occasion. The passion was certainly there, but the nastiness, which has crept into these derby games all too often, was totally absent.
The first twenty minutes were scoreless as the younger Eagles pack stood up well to their experienced counterparts. Chris Hettel, a hero of the Philippines’ first ever international game back in 2006, seems to have found his way out of the rugby wilderness and playing at number 8, proved to be a handful with some strong ball carrying. He was well supported in particular by the ever improving Daniel Melrose, who yet again played with maturity beyond his years and game experience.
The Nomads team has undergone a much needed make-over in recent times. Many of the stalwarts of countless campaigns have sought the calmer waters of the Extinct Volcanoes, or have found themselves playing supporting roles from the bench. This has in no small part resulted in a sharper and more exciting outfit, which utilise their backline more than any other team to represent the club in more than a decade. No surprise then, that six of the seven tries run in by Nomads on the day, were contributions from the three-quarters.
On twenty minutes powerful wing Kevin Ogley touched down for the first of what was to be an individual try scoring bonanza for the American Yorkshireman. He clearly had the measure of his opposite number and within five minutes had bagged number two. One conversion and a penalty from outside half Danny Williams, meant the score line at the interval stood at 15-0.
It was the Eagles who shot out of the blocks in the second half, with speedster Billy Lionel scoring a try, converted by David Carman. Any thoughts of a comeback were soon extinguished as Nomads then hit a purple patch for twenty minutes, during which Ogley added two more tries, the first of which was a fine individual effort and showcased his full range of skills, with the ball in hand and with the boot. Aaron Briddon coming off the back of national trials and the evergreen Nigel Barrett added two more and the game, with the scoreboard showing 39-7, was almost done. Or was it?
The Eagles have great character as a team and their never-say-die attitude resulted in them narrowing the gap in the last ten minutes to a very respectable 39-26. The first try by Timothy Bweheni was absolute class. Electrifying pace and a monster handoff, which catapulted Nomads fullback Bruno Vergnes backwards, saw him cover seventy five metres for the touchdown. He must surely be in the minds of the national coaching staff come Sevens season.
The equally quick Rimex Davai then ran in two tries in the dying minutes as Nomads dug deep to protect a win, which although no walk in the park, was well deserved, on the balance of play over eighty minutes. Kevin Ogley’s superb contribution to the Nomad’s cause earned him the Hardy’s man of the match award.
Both teams will now face the Hapons / Carabaos All Stars in the coming weeks, but don’t bet against these two teams clashing again in next month’s final.
Report by Phil Gittus
Some may say we saved the best for last, especially the Welsh.
The Bahay Bata team travelled to the world famous Millennium Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park which is located in Wales, the trip across the border from Bristol to Wales took one hour. Coach Cullen had arranged to meet ex Wales National Team player and mate, Peter Rogers who played in the very first game at the Millennium Stadium in 1999 when Wales upset the then World Champions South Africa. Peter had arranged a free tour of the Welsh stadium and took time out to join the tour and give the boys a firsthand encounter of what is like to play for your country in such a majestic ground. The boys all agreed that the Millennium stadium had more atmosphere than Twickenham and they enjoyed the first class tour of the stands, hospitality boxes, royalty seats and changing rooms.
Peter Rogers, who played prop for Wales, then escorted the team into the city of Cardiff, to the traditional markets and Cardiff Castle. The boys enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of Cardiff and ate lunch in the park whilst feeding pigeons and seagulls.
The day ended with the formal farewell back at Clifton College, each of the boys personally presented and thanked their host families with flowers and thank you certificates, as expected there were tears and the Clifton students and parents had obviously become attached the Bahay Bata boys during the 10 day home stay.
Gifts were exchanged and Clifton College Principal Mr. John Milne praised the Bahay Bata boys for their exemplary behaviour and invited the PRFU to bring another group of boys to visit Clifton College in 2012, which is a special year for the Clifton College as they celebrate their 150th anniversary.
It was also fitting that ex British Lions player John Bentley attended the ceremony and spoke highly of the Bahay Bata Foundation and Rugby Development in the Philippines. He explained how he had visited the Philippines on numerous occasions and gave talked about the problems faced in a developing country such as the Philippines. It was great to see John Bentley supporting the PRFU in his home country and we look forward to seeing him again at next year’s Manila 10s.
The following morning, the Bahay Bata boys were very sad to leave the school and the whole group hugged and thanked their Clifton College friends.
Over the last 10 days the Bahay Bata team have learned about the English and Welsh Cultures, played and won Rugby and visited some of the most famous sights and Rugby Stadiums in the United Kingdom. This certainly was the trip of a lifetime for the young Rugby players and it is noticeable that they have grown and benefited from this amazing trip abroad.
This is Rugby Union grassroots development at its very best and everyone who was involved in the tour came away with new friends and positive experiences.
Stay connected with us!