Over the last eight weeks The Philippine Rugby Football Union has been running the JML Rugby 7s League with 17 Men's and 6 Women's teams competing to play in this weekend’s Championship Finals. The JML 7s league finals will be played on Saturday, October 29 at Southern Plains Rugby Complex located at Silangan Exit, Laguna and will feature National players from both the Men's and Women's Volcanoes teams.
Rugby 7s is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and is enjoying an increase in popularity and awareness after its debut at the Rio Summer Olympics. This growth has been felt even in the Philippines with the number of clubs participating in the JML7s increasing from 18 in 2015 to 23 in 2016.
Rugby 7s is a fast competitive sport that focuses on teamwork, agility, speed, fitness and hand-eye coordination, National Team Coach Matt Cullen explains "Rugby 7s utilizes all the basic skills of basketball and has the added feature of tackling opponents. We keep unearthing young players who have exceptional talent that have grown up playing basketball, so they can catch, run, step and work together as a team. The big difference is that these young athletes also love the fact that they can tackle."
Coach Cullen states, "If you are basketball player that keeps fouling out out, then come and try Rugby 7s, you will love it!"
Teams from all over NCR like the Alabang Eagles, Albay Vulcans, Baguio Highlanders, Clark Jets and Subic Sharks have traveled to Manila each weekend to compete with Manila-based clubs such as CBRE Mavericks, La Liga, Makati Chiefs, Miriam College and QC Polytechnic University. All the club players compete with the aim of being selected in the 2017 National Volcanoes training squad.
This weekend will feature the top four teams in the Cup, Plate, Bowl, Shield and Women's Divisions. The Philippine Volcano Men's and Women's National team players are spread among the teams and play alongside up and coming local Filipino athletes who have been learning the game over the last few years. Each club team must submit a roster of 12 players which allows for 7 starters and 5 subs each game.
The Men's Division will see the Alabang Eagles attempt to defend their Cup title against formidable opponents including the Baguio Highlanders, Manila Nomads and the Philippine National Games Gold Medalists, the Clark Jets. The Women's Division is currently led by the CBRE Lady Mavericks who will battle against other close rivals including the Alabang Eagles, QCPU and Miriam College.
The Quarter Finals kick off at 11am while the Cup Division finals start at 2pm. The awards ceremony will take place at 5pm. Those curious about the fast-paced sport of Rugby 7s and who wish to witness the National Team players compete alongside the best opponents in the county are welcome to watch the JML 7s Finals at Southern Plains this Saturday, October 29. Admission is free of charge.
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