INCHEON, Korea— Two weeks ago the Globe Philippine Volcanoes narrowly missed a Top 4 finish in Round 1 of the Asia Sevens Series. This would have been their best finish in Asia since their Bronze medal placing in 2013.
The Volcanoes have a chance at redemption against the very team who beat them in extra time in the first round of the series in Hong Kong this weekend.
“The team came very close in Hong Kong; a loss in overtime against Korea was heartbreaking. A Top 4 finish in the whole of Asia would have been an ideal start to the series. Never the less, we have another shot this weekend in Korea, it’s going to be another tough weekend up against the best in Asia” shares Harrison Carceller Blake, Team Captain for the Volcanoes.
The Volcanoes have been placed in Pool B, facing hometown favourites Korea, second seeds Hong Kong and Southeast Asian rivals Malaysia on day one of competition. The Volcanoes welcome back Team Captain Blake, speedster Jonico Ater Hardwick and have selected debutant Japanese Filipino Kohei Mitsuhashi for round two of the series. Both Danny Bembo Matthews and Joe Palabay Dawson have been ruled unavailable for selection, both suffering short term injuries.
“Having Harrison and Jonico back in the 12 is a positive, both are game changers and have that x-factor on the field. Blake leads well from the front and Jonico is a great finisher. I am also looking forward to Kohei’s debut tournament, he deserves his selection and adds great balance to the makeup of this squad” shared Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby.
The Volcanoes have been residing together for the past eight days at their High Performance Facility at Southern Plains, Laguna. The national team used this training camp as their key preparation for each international event. The players are run through extensive practice sessions under coaches Frano Botica and David Johnston.
“At times we performed very well in Hong Kong, we just need to be more accurate on our defence and kick offs so we can continue to move up the ladder in Asia” said a confident Botica, a former New Zealand All Black.
The tournament will run for two days and be played at Incheon Asaid Stadium, Korea. The top eight teams are vying for series points to determine the Top 2 teams over three legs which will qualify for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup. Round three of the series will be played in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Oct. 14 and 15.
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