MANILA, Philippines – Let the games begin.
The Asian 5 Nations Division 1 Rugby Championships will kick-off on Sunday, April 15 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The Volcanoes have lost only one match in the past four years making them one of the most successful teams in the Asian Five Nations next to Japan. The Philippine team will be fielding a 100% Pinoy heritage squad with all members having at least one parent or grandparent born in the country.
The winner of Division 1 will be promoted to the Asian 5 Nations Elite level in 2013 to compete with Asian Rugby powerhouses Japan, Hong Kong, UAE and Kazakhstan making the team much more eager to win the tourney on home soil.
Regional General Manager for Asia of the IRB Jarrad Gallagher expressed excitement over the event.
“Over the years we have seen the matches become more and more competitive, not only have several teams reduced the margins against Japan, but the gaps are closing at every level as a result of the intensity of the HSBC A5N,” he said. “This can only be a boost for rugby in the region.”
Competing in the Division 1 tournament together with the Philippines are Sri Lanka, Singapore and Chinese Taipei. The teams will play each other in a new round-robin format to further prepare them for promotion to the Top 5.
The Philippines will first face Singapore on Sunday, April 15, then Chinese Taipei on Wednesday, April 18, and finally Sri Lanka on Saturday, April 21.
Both the April 15 and 18 games are free of charge while tickets will be required for April 21. All matches will be held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union has announced the Volcanoes roster that will compete in the tourney, which will be headed by coaches Expo Mejia and Jarred Hodges together with Managers Matt Cullen and Grant Rice.
The list of players include the following:
De Guzman, Michael