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Volcanoes vie for spot in 2020 World Rugby Sevens Series

The national pool for the World Rugby Seven Series Qualifiers

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Philippine Volcanoes looks to get a spot in the next season of the World Rugby Sevens Series as they will participate in the World Series Qualifier that will be part of the Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens from April 5-7.

The Volcanoes are one of 12 teams that will vie for a lone spot for next year's World Series, including host nation Hong Kong.

"To qualify for the event for the second time [is] a sign we are playing quality rugby in the international scene” shared Jakey Letts, the general manager of the Philippine Rugby Football Union. "It’s a spectacular achievement for a young union."

In line with the qualifying tournament, the PRFU called up 18 players to the initial training pool headlined by stars Joe Dawson, Robert Fogerty, and Justin Coveney.

Joining the three are Christopher Bird, Daniel Matthews, Donald Coleman, Edlen Hernandez, Even Spargo, Jerome Rudder, Jonico Hardwick, Mark Roberts, Patrice Olivier, Ryan Howe, Tim Berry, Tim Bweheni, Timothy Gilbert, Vincent Young, and first-timer Jaime Chuidian.

Former New Zealand national team player Frano Botica will be the Volcanoes' chief tactician with David Johnston being his deputy.

"The coaches have kept 13 players from the 2018 group, plus adding Daniel Matthews who was the captain in 2017 but was unavailable last year due to injury. Joining Danny in selection will be Tommy Gilbert, who was also one of our best in 2017 but also suffered a long-term injury in 2017. In addition to these two, Patrice Oliver returns to the program after settling commitments with his professional club in Japan last year. Plus we have an exciting young Jaime Chuidian graduating from our youth program who will add a fresh new face to the group," Letts further said.

The pool will be cut to 16 at the start of the training camp on March 22, and the Final 12 will be released just before the start of the tournament.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno