The Philippine Rugby Football Union, in collaboration with its title sponsor, SEAPAC Philippines, will kick off the 2017 SPI 15s domestic rugby league on Saturday at Southern Plains, Canlubang, Laguna.
With Rugby 7s’ inclusion at the Olympics last year along with Japan hosting the 2019 15s Rugby World Cup, the SPI 15s League on a local front gives the local Philippine rugby teams the opportunity to play the traditional code and experience the longer format of the game as it gears towards growing the sport of rugby in the Philippines.
The SPI 15s League will see five rounds of competition amongst two divisions for the men plus a women’s division.
The local favorites in the Cup league are the Alabang Eagles who are the reigning champions from last year’s championships. Clark Jets, after a successful 2016 season, are joining forces with Manila Hapons to form the Hapon Jets, and will be expected to be a top favorite in the Plate division. The Mavericks will also be competitive in the Plate division along with the Albay Vulcans and the recently reformed Makati Chiefs.
“Following the excitements of the local teams during the SPI 15s last year I am looking forward to seeing how this season’s SPI 15s League unfolds,” said PRFU Rugby Development Manager Jovan Masalunga.
“The National Team Selectors have positions open in the Philippine ‘A’ Team and the National Development Squad will be announced during the awards ceremony at the finals. So I am sure the local players will want to be at the top of their game with the opportunity of taking their rugby career to the next level in sight.”
The 15s rugby format is the traditional code of rugby and dates back to the 1800’s when the code was first introduced in England. Rugby 15s has been in the Philippines for the past decade and has seen success on the international stage since its beginnings in the Asian championships. The men’s national team, the Philippine Volcanoes have been crowned Asian champions winning Division 4, 3, 2 and 1 in successive years from 2008 through to 2012. The men’s current national 15s team sits 6th in Asia with an impressive win-loss record.
SEAPAC Philippines have announced to partner with the PRFU again and still is the national team’s headline sponsor. The SPI Philippine Volcanoes will compete in Division 1 of the Asia Rugby Championships in May against Malaysia, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.