Sports Unlimited: PH Volcanoes gear up for Rugby World Cup Sevens

By Jasmine Perez, Multimedia Producer, Sports Unlimited

Posted at Jun 20 2013 02:11 PM | Updated as of Jun 20 2013 10:11 PM

For the first time in Philippine sports history, a national team will finally don the country's flag colors to compete against the world's greatest rugby players.

The Philippine national men's rugby team, also known as The Philippine Volcanoes, will be part of the prestigious Rugby World Cup Sevens this coming June 28 in Moscow, Russia.

The Philippine national rugby team has been silently bagging honor for the country, winning gold and silver in the 2005 and 2007 Southeast Asian Games, and moving up the Asian 5 nations tournament ladder--from Division 3 champions in 2009 to Division 1 champions last year.

The team also jumped up in the world rankings, placing 57th in the international rugby board rankings.
 
Last November, the Volcanoes continued their streak by placing third in the HSBC Asian Seven series in Singapore. There they trounced Guam, China, and even the powerhouse South Korea team. Their surprising bronze finish gave them the final slot to represent Asia in the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

A month before the tournament, the Volcanoes underwent intense training twice a day, knowing that they would be an underdog against the world's best rugby teams.

The Philippines will be clustered under Pool C. The Volcanoes will face Kenya on June 28 and battle Samoa and Zimbabwe on June 29.

The team's three opponents are all formidable squads, all having experience playing in the IRB Sevens World Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens.

The coaches knew that they must prepare hard for their upcoming battle, and so for one month, all players had to undergo a punishing training regimen.

The team members lived together at the training camp and logged long hours of practice--from passing and catching the ball to scrumming, attacking and tackling.

Coach Al Caravelli, who was the former coach of the US national rugby team, said he believes in the determination and fighting spirit of the Volcanoes. He said that this sport is a perfect fit for Pinoys as games are fast-paced and don't require much height and bulk.

Aside from the honor of being the first Pinoy national team to compete in a world championship event, the Volcanoes are set to spread their passion to Pinoys who have never heard about rugby before.

Aired on June 15, 2013