MANILA – The Philippine Volcanoes reached the finals of the 2019 Division 1 Asia Rugby Men’s Championships after defeating Sri Lanka, 39-22, in the semifinals at the Taipei Municipality Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.
The Volcanoes surged to an early lead with Robert Luceno Fogerty scoring on a try line at the opening minute. Sri Lanka answered with a penalty from Samuel Mduwantha but the Volcanoes got a penalty from Danny Bembo Matthews for an 8-3 edge.
Both teams went toe-to-toe for possession since then until Sri Lanka snatched the lead at 34th minute at 10-8 off a driving maul but the Volcanoes came up with hits from Tim Alonso Berry and Matthews for a 15-10 edge after 40 minutes of play.
Fogerty once again capitalized on quick ball scoring a double making it 20-10 at the onset of the second half. Philippine widen the lead further on back-to-back hits by Ned Plarizan Stephenson and Justin Villazor Coveney before Matthews added the extras.
Up 36-10, the Volcanoes earned themselves a comfortable scoreline ahead. To their credit, a never give in attitude had the Sri Lankans score two late tries however in between a penalty conversion to Matthews had the score out of reach.
“[I’m] Really proud of the team. The forwards especially dug deep and were clinical which allowed the backs to get clean ball and play attacking rugby. It was a real team effort,” said Matthews.
“Credit to Sri Lanka who can score tries from anywhere, we just needed to hold out until the final whistle. The team showed a lot of maturity and composure to finish the game as winners” he added.
The defending champions Volcanoes have set a rematch in the final with Singapore, an 18-13 winner over the Chinese-Taipei, at seven in the evening tonight at the same venue./PN