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Philippine selection trounces Sabah in nail-biting friendly

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

CALAMBA—The Philippine Residents, comprising of homegrown rugby players, survived the gallant stand of Sabah and won, 25-19, in a friendly dubbed as the "Transcom Plate" at the Southern Plains Rugby Field, formerly known as the Eagles' Nest, on Sunday.

The Residents bucked a late scare from the Malaysian side and went home victorious in its first match as the Volcanoes training pool for the upcoming Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 in April.

The Residents were up, 17-7, at halftime, but Joseph Jordan scored on a try and a conversion to cut the lead to three midway into the second half.

Jackson Vatu stretched the lead to six with a field goal before Justin Coveney added a try to bring the lead back to double digits, 25-14.

Eddie Mazrin kept the game interesting with a late try, but the Residents' defense forced Mazrin to score the five-pointer on the right corner of the field and effectively forced Jordan to attempt the conversion from the right corner as well, which he badly missed.

Vatu looked to deliver the dagger for the Filipino side with a field goal attempt, but his shot hit the post and the ball went to Sabah.

Defense won it for the Residents as they succeeded on a crucial tackle that sent an opponent to the sideline as PRFU director Matt Cullen, who served as the referee for the match, blew the final whistle.

The Sabah side, known as the Eagles, are using the match as a tuneup for the King's Cup.

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