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Volcanoes, Lady Volcanoes end last in Asia Rugby Sevens Series leg one

The Philippine national men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams suffered two defeats to both end in last place in the 2021 Asia Rugby Sevens Series at the Dubai Sports City in UAE, Saturday evening (Philippine time).

The reigning Southeast Asian Games champions, the Philippine Volcanoes, absorbed a stunning loss against Malaysia in the 7th/8th place match, 19-28, to slip to the bottom of the standings and earn the minimum number of points at 1 point.

The Malaysians took the early advantage at 7-0, before the Volcanoes cut the deficit with a try from Luc Smith. Nonetheless, the opponents took advantage of the several miscues of the Nationals especially in the end game to turn a slim 14-12 advantage into a 28-19 victory.

This defeat followed after the Volcanoes also lost to perennial Championship rivals Sri Lanka in the plate semi-final at 28-26. The Volcanoes put up a late stand with Smith converting on his own late try, but the time ran out for them to snag the game off.

The Lady Volcanoes meanwhile missed two chances to end the tournament with a win as they also lost to regional rivals Malaysia in their own 7th/8th place match, 5-12.

The Malaysians also took the upper hand at 7-0 off a breakaway, but the Nationals got one back with a try from Lorahmel Mateo. However, a missed opportunity to close out the game for the Volcanoes turned into another attack from the neighbors and eventually snagged the win.

It was the same scenario that happened in the plate semifinal, also against Sri Lanka, where they squandered a late winner to instead absorb a heartbreaking loss at 15-19. Aidee Denuyo put the Nationals in the lead at 15-12 with three minutes and 25 seconds remaining, but confusion at the restart resulted in a breakaway from the South Asians for the converted try and the win.

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The Volcanoes and the Lady Volcanoes will try to finish this competition comeback on a high note as they compete in the second and final leg of the Series on November 26 and 27, still in Dubai.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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