The Philippine Volcanoes remained Asia Rugby Division 1 champions after defeating Singapore, 29 to 21, Saturday night.
The Volcanoes started the match strongly with team captain Danny Bembo Matthews setting up a perfectly weighted cross-field kick for Justin Villazor Coveney for the opening 5 points. Not long after the Volcanoes had back to back points after Ellis Padillo Rudder found open space to dive over for another 5 pointer.
With the score at 29 to 16, Singapore hit back and provided hope scoring a late try to close the gap. However, an unsuccessful conversion kept the Volcanoes ahead by 8 points with time winding down.
This ensured the Philippines the championship title defeating Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka, and Singapore in this year’s Division 1 championship.
“It’s an important win for us. Our role as a team is to help with the development of rugby in the Philippines and to see the likes of Kingsley (Ballesteros) come off the bench is a testament to growth and development game. He’s come through the ranks and so it’s so good to see this experience for him” said Matthews.
2019 is the first time the Volcanoes has tasted this success since 2012 in this division, a special achievement for the team, especially since there had been a change of format for the competition in the past.
After a successful Men’s campaign, the focus for Philippine Rugby moves directly to the Women’s campaign, as they prepare for their own Asia Rugby Championships in June. The Philippine women’s team will face India, Singapore, and China in their Asia Rugby Championships on June 19 and 22 with home ground advantage.