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Volcanoes relegate UAE in thriller

Asia Rugby
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—The Philippine Volcanoes kept their status in Division 1 of the Asia Rugby Championship after beating UAE, 34-26, in a do-or-die playoff in Ipoh, Malaysia on Saturday.

Justin Coveney quickly put the Volcanoes up with a try in just 28 seconds.

But UAE went ahead afterward as Edward Talbot scored the equalizing try followed by Andrew Stevenson's conversion for the 7-5 edge.

Kevin Gordon pulled one try back to give the Philippines a 10-7 advantage only for Stevenson to knot the count again at 10 apiece with a field goal of his own.

Patrice Olivier ended the first half with his own try to put the Volcanoes on top, 15-10.

The Volcanoes tried to pull away early in the second half, but UAE fought back and tied the game anew, 26-all.

Olivier then made a breakthrough try with nine minutes left to put the Volcanoes back up, 31-26.

The defense then held UAE scoreless, and Gaz Holgate sealed the win with a field goal with 30 seconds left.

"[This is] a well-deserved win to our Volcanoes. I am extremely proud of the way we finished. It’s been a tight campaign. I am so happy to finish on a high and secure third place," said Austin Dacanay, who played his last game as national team player.

The loss relegated UAE to Division 2.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno