The Philippine National U20s rugby team travel to Johor Bahru, Malaysia this weekend to compete in the first round of the U20s Asian Seven’s Series.
The Junior Volcanoes have been based in a high performance training camp since Saturday under the leadership of current Men’s Volcano Jake Robrigado Letts and David Johnston.
It will be the Volcanoes first appearance on this stage since 2012 as it prepares to look to the future to recruit, develop and train the next batch of emerging Volcanoes.
“It’s been a very positive week, the team has trained very well and come a long way in the space of six days. These players are the future and it’s exciting to see the talent both here locally in the Philippines and abroad” says Coach and current Men’s Volcano Jake Letts.
The Junior Volcanoes will be led by Captains Kai Ledesma Stroem and Rhys Jacob Mackley who have both gained valuable experience playing on the international stage in the Men’s Asian Seven’s Series earlier this year.
“The team will approach the games this weekend with a positive attitude and stick together, the results will then fall in our favor. It’s been a tough but rewarding week with a long training camp but now it’s all down to bringing everything together at the right time and hopefully coming out with some wins” adds Team Captain Stroem.
The Volcanoes have drawn a tough pool against heavy weights Japan and Sri Lanka up first followed by Thailand and UAE. The youth in the Volcanoes team favors the Philippines as both Letts and Johnston have selected six players at the age of 18 to compete at this level.
“Dave and I have selected a young team, this team will gain valuable experience both now and in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing these players develop and grow together as a core group of young Volcanoes where in two years time they will be well suited to playing both at an U20s level and more so graduate to a Men’s level” added Letts.
The Philippine Volcanoes burst onto the Asian Seven’s Series back in 2009 and have since represented Asia both at the Hong Kong International Seven’s and at the 7s Rugby World Cup in 2013.
With the inclusion of Rugby 7s in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games rugby in Asia is expected to gain even more popularity as Japan has been rewarded as the host nation of both the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games in 2020.