Volcanoes braving hot weather in training ahead of ARC Division 1 games

The Philippine Volcanoes during training. Mark Cristino/PRFU (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

BOCAUE--The scorching temperature outdoors is not stopping the Philippine Volcanoes from continuing to train for their upcoming Asian Rugby Championship Division 1 tournament beginning on Wednesday at the Philippine Sports Stadium.

“Most days we have two field sessions, one in the morning and one late afternoon, as well as strength training in the gym on selected days. There are also team meetings before each field session to look over what we are about to do on the field. We don’t have the luxury of training together full-time, so it's important to get the learning done early,” said team captain Oliver Saunders after their last practice ahead of the competition.

However, Saunders admitted that Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka are the teams to beat in the two-day tournament where the champion will gain promotion to the Top 3.

“Although we enter this division ranked first based on last-year’s results, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan are actually higher in the World Rugby rankings. Their advantage is that they train together as a team for extended periods of time. It will not be an easy tournament for us and we will need to be at our absolute best to win," he continued.

However, the Volcanoes gained some positive results in their training.

“The camp has been highly productive in meeting all of our planned outcomes. We are finding the combination and continuity of selection over the past few years proving invaluable in the cohesion of our team plays.... we are just putting the detail into our team plays and structures,” said Coach Stu Woodhouse.

Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan will face off at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, while the Volcanoes host Singapore at 4 p.m. at the said field inside the Ciudad de Victoria Complex.

"We’re all very excited to be playing in front of a home crowd and we’re going to leave everything on the field to bring honor to the Philippines,” Saunders described their anticipation for the said tournament.

The winners of the said contests will vie for the promotion spot at 6 p.m. on Saturday night succeeding the battle for third between the losing sides at 4 p.m.