The Volcanoes, under American coach Al Caravelli, are set to compete in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Seven slated on June 28 to 30.
Caravelli told reporters during a press conference in Pasay City on Wednesday that he is very optimistic of his wards’ chances in the tournament.
“The players are growing individually and as a team by leaps and bounds.” Said Caravelli, a former USA Rugby coach. “While we are still very new to international rugby we are learning every day and continuously improving.”
Besides the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong are the other two Asian countries that gained entry into the competition. The Volcanoes clinched a spot in the World Cup Seven by defeating South Korea in the qualifying tournament in November last year.
The Philippines will be playing with Zimbabwe, Kenya and Samoa in Pool C.
“As far as I’m concerned, Samoa is the toughest team in our bracket. They are bigger, stronger and faster,” said Caravelli. “But I believe the Filipinos will give them a good fight. We need to be smarter and rely on our speed.”
Matthew Saunders, Michael Duhig, David Feeney and Austin Dacanay are expected to lead the Volcanoes’ campaign in World Cup 7.
“The preparations for the World Cup campaign were different compared to the other tournaments as we’ve been able to train together for a longer amount of time. Usually, the squad is informed and then we fly over a week before the tournament but this time, we’ve been lucky enough to have over three weeks of preparation prior to flying to Russia,” said Saunders.
The Volcanoes are bound to leave for Russia on June 23.
Josef T. Ramos