The Philippine Rugby Football Union, (PRFU) has announced its 28 man Seapac (SPI) Philippine Volcanoes squad for the upcoming division 1 Asia Rugby Championships. (ARC).
After a recent successful outing against an experienced Singapore national team on April 22, where the Philippine Residents XV defeated Singapore 29 to 17, nine players earned selection into the SPI Philippine Volcanoes National Men’s 15s Team.
“Our SPI 15s domestic competition is growing every year, the win over Singapore played a crucial role for some members into selection for the ARC” commented David Johnston, National Coach of the SPI Volcanoes and Head Coach of Eagles RFC.
The Philippines have called in experienced overseas Filipinos to help boost the squad with the likes of Oliver Abalos Saunders, Michael Estrada Duhig and Patrice Ortiz Olivier all returning to represent the Volcanoes. The Volcanoes will be lead by an experienced coaching staff in Stu Woodhouse, David Johnston and former NSW Waratahs Head Coach Chris Hickey.
Among the new faces will see Kevin Sysu Gordon in the centres and Gerald Zamora Tulud in the backrow. Gordon bringing in a wealth of experience, after playing professional rugby league for seven years with the Gold Coast Titans in Australia.
“This year we have some new players making their debut for the SPI Volcanoes – the likes of Ricky Kucia, Ned Plarizan Stephenson returning after a stint in the 7s program, Gerald and Kevin also, its always a positive transition when new faces are in the team” shared Matt Cullen, Managing Director of the PRFU.
The SPI Volcanoes will be facing strong competition in the ARC, facing Sri Lanka (40) Malaysia (54) and UAE (72) in respected World Rankings. The Philippines are currently ranked 57 in the world. A win last year over tournament hosts Malaysia shot the SPI Volcanoes to as high as 47, however a loss in the last second of the game just one week later to Sri Lanka saw the Volcanoes drop back to 57.
“Its going to be an exciting tournament, all teams are very well evenly matched. The team will start official training camp this weekend so hopefully we can gel well like we always do, get together our game plan so we can be successful over in Malaysia” Jake Robrigado Letts, Philippine Volcano who will return for this years ARC.
The Volcanoes will get a chance at redemption taking on Sri Lanka on May 14, the hosts Malaysia on May 17 and the final game vs. UAE on May 21 at Ipoh Padang Field, Ipoh, Malaysia.
SPI Philippine Volcanoes Squad for Asia Rugby Championship:
1. Austin Garnica Dacanay
17. Joe Palabay Dawson