The Philippine Volcanoes national men’s rugby union team defeated Singapore, 37-20, Sunday night to open its campaign in the Asian Five Nations Division I tournament at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Volcanoes won on six tries to Singapore’s two. The two teams scored two conversions apiece, even as Singapore had a 2-1 advantage on penalties.
“It’s very great to win in front of the home,” said Volcanoes coach Expo Mejia after the match, the first for the Philippines in the four-nation tournament which also features Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka. “But it’s only one-third of the job done.”
British-Filipino center Oliver Saunders was named man of the match, but gave credit to the rest of the team’s effort.
“It’s a team sport, I’ve got to thank the forward pack and the rest of the boys,” he said.
He added that playing in front of the Philippine crowd was special.
“Every player, no matter what sport, dreams to play for the national team. We’re representing not just Filipinos who live in the country, but in the rest of the world. It’s a big honor.”
The Philippines continues its campaign on Wednesday at 7 p.m. versus Chinese Taipei, before wrapping up the tournament against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Division I is the second tier of competition in Asian Five Nations rugby, next only to the Top 5. Winning the tournament would earn the Philippines a promotion to the top tier. Last year, the Philippines lost in the semifinals to South Korea, which was promoted to the Top 5.