MANILA – The Philippine Volcanoes has successfully defended its title in the Division 1 Asia Rugby Men’s Championship 2019 after a thrilling 29-21 win over Singapore at the Taipei Municipality Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.
It was not a walk in a park coronation for the back-to-back Division 1 champions as the Singaporeans pushed them to the limit before surrendering to the favorites late in the match.
The Volcanoes started strong as it surged to a 12-0 edge behind hits by Justin Coveney and Ellis Rudder. But Jonathan Wong showed incredible pace to score a length of the field to reduce the deficit.
A third try by the Volcanoes from full-back Patrice Olivier gave them a 19-7 edge before the Singaporeans made another run behind Ishraf Marah to reduce the deficit to 19-16 midway in the second half.
The Volcanoes, however, capitalized on the space created by their forwards with Ned Stephenson calming his side’s nerves, before Erik Erikson added their fifth try.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game of footy but we showed a lot of heart to get the win. All credit Singapore, they were excellent, I can’t say enough how good they were,” said Volcanoes team captain Danny Matthews.
“Having two back-to-back games like this in quick succession was a big test and we showed immense determination to get over the line,” he added. “Our role as a team is to help with the development of rugby in the Philippines.”/PN