Rugby 7s is exploding after its return to the Summer Olympics, with the Philippines posting a double podium finish at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games the Volcanoes are looking to once again take on Asia’s best.
The national women’s team, the Lady Volcanoes, will be the first to have players tour internationally competing in the Bangkok 7s on November 12 and 13. Both National Teams will then look to February where they will compete in two legs at the 2017 Asian 7s Series held in both India and Dubai.The Volcanoes Men’s and Women’s national 7s rugby team have begun high intensity training programs to defend their SEA Games medals. The Volcanoes will participate in a string of international events leading into the 2017 Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur.
For the Men’s Volcanoes, ranked No.1 in Southeast Asia, the team realizes the competition next year will be a step up from previous years. “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” said Jake Robrigado Letts, captain of the 2015 Gold Medal Team. “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” Letts added.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union has two National Youth Programs that are also aimed to identify more talent for the games. For the Men’s the Philippines will host Korea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates for the 2016 U19 Asia Rugby Championships in December. The Women’s 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 Director of Rugby for the Philippine Rugby Football Union Matthew Cullen.