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Jr. Volcanoes host U19 Asia Rugby tourney

The Jr. Volcanoes had a training camp over the weekend. Raymond Braganza/PRFU

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine Jr. Volcanoes aim for a promotion to the premier division of the U19 Asia Rugby Championships as they host the Division 1 of the tournament ladder at the International School Manila Athletic Field in Taguig beginning on Wednesday night.

However, they are in for a tough grind as they take on South Korea, which drubbed them in last year's semifinals also at the ISM Field, in the first game of the knockout semis twinbill at 5 p.m.

Skipper Kai Stroem, however, vowed, "Come Wednesday we will be ready for Korea."

Also among the key players for the Jr. Volcanoes are Rhys Mackley, who like Stroem has been with the senior Volcanoes, and Ryan Santos.

Meanwhile, longtime seniors team captain Jakey Letts, currently the director for the Philippine Rugby Football Union, looks at the tournament as part of their preparations for the 2019 SEA Games, in which the Philippines will host.

“It’s important to invest in our youth, provide them a pathway into international competition. With the SEA Games being hosted in the Philippines in 2019, we want to be able to identify a few players from this program so we can invest in their future,” he said.

In the nightcap at 6:45 p.m., UAE battles Malaysia.

The winners of the Wednesday games will slug it out in the final on Saturday also at the ISM Field.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno