The Philippine Volcanoes ended with a solitary win after the group stage of the 2021 Asia Rugby Sevens Series first leg held at the Dubai Sports City, UAE, Saturday morning (Philippine time).
This is the first of only two legs for the series for the year, with the others canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top two teams after both legs qualify directly into next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
It has been nearly two years since the squad last tasted competition when they won the gold in the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Nonetheless, they showed up despite the short time to prepare.
A familiar foe in Malaysia was their first opponent. The Philippines continued to have their number after taking their first and, eventually, lone win of the group phase at 19-12.
The Volcanoes scored three tries for the match with three scorers in Ian Luciano, Jerome Rudder, and Raphael Barberis. Luc Smith eventually converted two of those tries.
The Nationals then went on to go up against South Korea and Hong Kong; both teams already met by previous iterations in top-level of the AR Championships. With the squad consisting mainly of new faces, it was their initial foray against the powerhouses.
The results are huge losses with 0-46 against the South Koreans and a relatively fighting 0-29 against Hong Kong.
The Volcanoes ended up in third place after the stage.
However, with the win, the Volcanoes look to take the plate as they first face Sri Lanka in the plate semifinal on Saturday at 4:48 p.m. (8:28 p.m.)