The First Pacific U19 national rugby team, the Jr. Volcanoes, face a tough ask in their final match of the U19 Asia Rugby Division 1 championships.
The Philippines were out muscled against an experienced and well advanced Korea on Wednesday night in their semifinal battle. The Philippines now turn their attention to finish the year on a high, against Southeast Asian neighbours Singapore.
The young Volcanoes after a gutsy performance will field a similar roster with one noticeable change. Vice Captain Rhys Jacob Mackley will move back to his favored position at scrum half to make room for the return of Gabriel Lingan. Lingan was a late withdrawal two hours before Wednesday’s semifinal match. A known playmaker and general for the Philippines he will be a boost for the home team for their bronze medal play off.
“It was unfortunate for us to lose Gabe so close to kick off for game 1, he is an experienced team member of this squad and will no doubt be a leader for Saturday’s final game. We trained with Gabe all week leading up to Korea so to have him back for the final is a blessing. Gabe brings a wealth of experience into the playmaker’s role, the coaching staff and his team mates are happy to see him return to the starting side” shares assistant coach and current Philippine Volcano, Jake Robrigado Letts.
After both teams’ performances from Wednesday, the Philippines with a home ground advantage are likely to go in favorites. Man of the match Francis Glen Serafica will be looking for a repeat performance with his bone crushing defense and strong attacking runs. Team captain Kai Ledesma Stroem will be expected to once again lead from the front.
The 2016 Transcom Shield, an annual international rugby fixture between the Philippine National Men’s Development Team and the Hong Kong Senior Warriors has been scheduled as a pre-game curtain raiser before the Jr. Volcanoes.
The Philippines will kick off the first match at 12.00pm for the men’s fixture, followed by the Jr Volcanoes at 2.00pm. Both matches will be played at International School Manila, Taguig this Saturday December 17.
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