THE Philippine Volcanoes, fresh from their remarkable finishes in two international tournaments, are all set to leave for Ipoh, Malaysia to vie in the tougher Asia Rugby Championship.
The Volcanoes will face three other teams in the rugby 15s event that serves as qualifying for the 2019 World Cup set in Japan.
Only the winning team in Ipoh will move on to next year’s World Cup qualification round.
Volcanoes Jake Letts, Kevin Gordon and Edlen Hernandez graced yesterday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City, and expressed their readiness to face Sri Lanka on May 14, host Malaysia on May 17 and the United Arab Emirates on May 20.
“This will be a very tough level of competition for us,” said Letts during the forum supported by San Miguel Corporation, Accel, Pagcor and Golden Phoenix Hotel.
The Volcanoes, now fully backed by global nutrition company Herbalife, are also gearing up for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.
“This is all part of our preparation and the selection of the team for the SEA Games,” added Letts, who was with the team that ruled the Asian Rugby 7s in Doha, Qatar last February and placed third in the Southeast Asia Sevens in Singapore last month.
Letts said the Volcanoes are fielding a solid lineup in Ipoh, including Oliver Saunders and the comebacking Justin Coveney.
The forthcoming event will carry a single-round robin format with each of the four teams playing three matches with corresponding points.
“We are looking to win all three matches,” said Letts, adding sweeping their assignment is the only way to guarantee the championship.
“In this event, we beat Malaysia last year in the eliminations but the Malaysians ended up winning the title,” he said.
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