Elite Rugby football is back after a long absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s gaining ground once more following a successful tournament of the elite recently at the Ayala Vermosa Sports in Imus, Cavite.
The Alabang Eagles RFC and the Clark Jets clinched the men’s and women’s overall Premiership titles after the 3rd and final leg of the 2022 PRFU Luzon Rugby Cup.
“The Premiership Division was a success as it provided opportunities to showcase the talents and skills of our top players in the island of Luzon in a very competitive division,” said Acee San Juan of the Philippine Rugby Union.
“It also gave opportunities for PRFU’s High-Performance Program (HPP) to identify players for inclusion in the National Pool. We look forward to having these players selected in the Philippine Volcanoes teams set to compete in the Asian Sevens Series later this year.”
The Eagles RFC women swept both matches against the SKF Makati Mavericks. Meanwhile, Clark Jets finished with 2 wins and 1 loss to accumulate a total of 11 points to finish as the number one Men’s Premiership team.
The first Women’s Premiership match between the Eagles RFC and the SKF Makati Mavericks started off intense as expected.
The women in white and blue capitalized on a turnover opportunity which resulted in Aiumi Ono scoring the first try for the Eagles from an offload assist from fellow Cebuano, Dixie Yu. Agot Danton successfully converted the try to bring the Eagle’s lead to 7 – 0.
The Mavericks answered back with solid defensive pressure, pinned the Eagles on their own 22, and forced them to make mistakes.
Mavericks captain Rara Sales, beat 3 defenders to score a try at the wing right before the break. Half time score was 7 – 5 for the Eagles RFC.
The Eagles RFC regrouped at the break and came out stronger in the second half. Acee San Juan scored a try from an offload assist from Kat Andrews.
Andrews also powered her way through the line to score a great solo try. The match finished at 17 – 5 for the Eagles RFC.
The second match of the Women’s Premiership Division was also tightly fought between the two fierce rivals until the last second.
Mavericks again pressured the Eagles on their own half which resulted in penalties for them. However, a quick tap from San Juan off a Mavericks penalty allowed the Eagles to gain yards, with Ono closely behind to support.
Ono gave a quick pop off the ground to Danton, who managed to beat 4 defenders to score a breakaway try for the Eagles RFC before the halftime break.
Mavericks forwards’ Nova Tega and Sylvia Tudoc took turns in their powerful carries in the second half while backs Ysabel del Fiero, Annie Rivas, and Janin Puig continued to attack the line.
A dominant tackle from Eagles prop, Luisa Jordan, put the Mavericks players on their back foot. San Juan quickly reacted and turned over the ball to score the second try of the Eagles right at the end of the match. The final score was 10 – 0 for the Eagles.
The Eagles RFC won the 3rd leg with a combined score of 27 points to 5 points for the Mavericks. Eagles RFC center, Dixie Yu, was awarded the MVP for her efficient work on and off the ball. Yu’s tackle breaks, line breaks, and offloads plus her solid defense contributed well to the success of the team.
With three legs as the Premiership Division Champions, the Eagles RFC was awarded the overall Women’s Premiership Division title, making them the top women’s team in the country for this Return to Play season.
The Clark Jets capitalized on their speed and great vision to run away as the overall champions of the Men’s Premiership Division of the 2022 PRFU Luzon Rugby Cup. The men from the north scored a total of 69 points throughout the day.
They posted a 31 – 19 win against Eagles RFC with tries from Koli Seiuli, Joemari Rauras, Tui Tainielu, and a double from Joshua Aragon. However, a try and conversion from Jonel Madrona weren’t enough to win their game against the SKF Makati Mavericks, 7 – 8.
Mavericks flyhalf, Reed Santos, successfully converted a penalty goal 40 meters from the posts to claim the win for his team late in the match.
The Jets bounced back and came away with a 31 – 14 win against the Manila Nomads behind tries from Aragon, Henry Larriestan, Lito Talosig, and Rex Francisco. Clark Jets Center, Tui Tainielu, was awarded the MVP for his outstanding playmaking and leadership on the field.
With two runner-up finishes in legs 1 and 2 plus the top finish in the 3rd leg, the Clark Jets were awarded the overall Premiership title for Philippine Rugby’s Return to Play season.