|Steve Howorth will play skipper for the Volcanoes. Mark Cristino/PRFU (file photo)|
By Dugout Philippines
MANILA--The SPI Philippine Volcanoes, for the first time since 2015, will play on home soil to decide the 2018 Asia Rugby Division 1 Championship.
The Volcanoes will host Singapore at Southern Plains, Calamba in a two-match head-to-head series this Saturday, June 23, and Tuesday, June 26.
The Volcanoes, proudly headlined sponsored by Seapac Philippines, Inc (SPI), MVP Sports Foundation and First Pacific, finished third in last year’s Division 1 Asia Rugby Championships and will be vying for a first place finish under experienced coaching staff Stu Woodhouse, Greg Mumm and former veteran Philippine Volcano Austin Dacanay.
The Volcanoes will field a mix of youth and experience for this year’s national squad, a total of 12 potential debutants to make up the final 26-man roster.
Experienced campaigners Ashley Heward, Steve Howorth and Justin Coveney return for national duties.
“A new look roster this year, some exciting new faces have been included in the program. The likes of Robert Fogerty, Sam Callaghan and Kevin Broussard will have the opportunity for selection in the nation’s Top 15s program. These players all have their Filipino roots connecting them to the motherland, I am sure their families here in the Philippines cannot wait to see them represent the nation proudly,” shared Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby Football Union.
The Volcanoes last played Singapore on home soil in 2015 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
The Volcanoes were pushed to the very end and managed to secure the win in overtime, after a successful penalty conversion from past fly-half Alex Aronson.
In 2016, it was Singapore who edged out the Volcanoes in Malaysia after a late try secured their win. The Volcanoes, however, finished on top of Singapore after point differential separated the two over the Championship standings.
In 2017, the Singapore National Team toured the Philippines to take on the Philippine Residents XV team, the Residents overcoming Singapore, 29-17, in wet conditions. Up to nine players from the Residents XV team will be returning to make up of the Volcanoes team this year.
The Volcanoes will be using home ground advantage as a key addition to their preparation, playing on home soil adding an additional drive to the players.
“Playing at home is very special to our playing group, it’s not often we get to play for the country we love, especially in front of family and friends here in the Philippines. I am really looking forward to having a vocal home crowd on cheering our players against two tough matches against Singapore,” shared Howorth, who has been selected as team captain for this campaign.
The two match series will be combined with two curtain raiser matches to be played prior to the Volcanoes and Singapore test matches.
The United Kingdom Penguins Rugby Touring Team will take on the Philippine Residents XV team, which is coming off a strong win over Guam in April.
The Residents XV program boasts the next batch of top rugby players in the country who sit under the Volcanoes.
The match day program kicks off at 12:30 p.m. when the Penguins take on the Philippine Residents followed by the main game at 3 p.m., where the Philippines take on Singapore. Entry is free.
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