Buoyed by its double podium finish in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore last year, the country’s national rugby teams—known as the Volcanoes and the Lady Volcanoes—intend to make their presence felt in the continental level.
Currently ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Asian region following their gold medal romp in the Singapore meet, the Volcanoes are already priming up themselves for a two-leg Asian 7s Series which will be held in India and Dubai, United Arab Emirates in February.
The Lady Volcanoes, which finished third in the 2015 SEAG meet, will also see action in the Asian 7s Series, but will initially compete in the two-day Bangkok 7s from November 12 and 13 in Thailand, giving them a warm-up tourney for the bigger battles ahead.
The string of events is part of the PH national rugby team’s preparations for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Asia Rugby is on the rise, each team seems to be getting better every year, we know if we are going to go back-to-back Gold in the SEA Games then we have to ensure how preparations are well in advance and of the highest quality” shared Jake Robrigado Letts, who served as the Volcanoes skipper in the Singapore Games.
“Our first step is to finish first place next year in February, which I am confident we can after a silver place finish this year, however in 7s it’s very unpredictable so we need to make sure we perform at our best over the first two legs in Dubai and India” he added.
Matthew Cullen, Director of Rugby for the Philippine Rugby Football Union, also disclosed the country will host a pair of U-19 events that aims to enhance the grassroots program of the sport in the country.
In the men’s side, the Philippines will host Korea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates for the 2016 U19 Asia Rugby Championships in December while the Lady Volcanoes will play in an U19s National Development Series for the first time against Hong Kong in Manila on January 26 and 29.
“The U19 youth programs identify players for both teams, only the top players will graduate to the Men’s and Women’s National 7s Programs. These players are crucial for nurturing young talent to compete in future SEA Games,” said Cullen.