After months of preparation, the Philippine Lady Volcanoes put forward a strong performance defeating India 19 to 5 to book a spot in the Division 1 Asia Rugby Women’s Championships in Singapore.
In muddy conditions late yesterday afternoon, the Volcanoes were in a tight contest for most of the first half. India and the Philippines were on a battlefield. It wasn’t until late in the first half the Philippines broke through and capitalized from a set piece.
Off a 22m line out, the Philippines utilized star center Sylvia Tudoc to bust through the Indian defense to secure first points for the Philippines, a trade mark piece from the Mavericks Rugby Club center. It comes as no surprise as Tudoc also recently received a Rugby scholarship from leading Rugby training academy Inside Running and will leave for New Zealand immediately following this tournament. Debutant Agot Danton of the Davao Durians, added the extra two points to take the first half off to a 7 points to nil lead.
After a tough opening 40 minutes, the Philippines returned to the field more confident and started testing the defense early. Possession was held by the Philippines attacking the Indian defensive line consistently after the half time break. With back to back penalties, Philippine back-rower Tanya Escala Bird used her formidable strength to drive her way through under the posts to give the Volcanoes an extra boost. Danton once again added the extra points to spearhead the Philippines 14 points up.
Early into the second half, experienced leader Ada Milby was injected into the match. Milby continued to put the Philippines on the front foot, it wasn’t long until she arrived with her first points for the match. A five pointer after pressure on pressure from the Philippine Team made it 19 to 0 with time to spare.
India fiercely continued to contest knowing the time remaining would not be enough to snatch victory from the Lady Volcanoes. Their own pressure converted into a try and closed the score line to 14 points with 10 minutes remaining. The Volcanoes however held strong to hold onto the match with desperate defense to let the time tick away. The match ended in favor of the Philippines, with the Lady Volcanoes booking a place in the Championship final against Singapore on Friday.
Aiumi Ono, hailing from Cebu and current team Captain of the Makati Chiefs and the Lady Volcanoes felt the game was well deserved by her and her team mates
“I was happy with our performance yesterday, such a great feeling winning the first game of the team’s comeback after 6 years!” Ono said.
Ono shared that the Lady Volcanoes still need to work on ball retention and securing rucks, but overall they did well on their set-plays and have shut down India in the back line because of their aggressive defense.
“It’s a great start to the tournament, credit to the players and coaching staff, they have worked hard for this victory. It’s not finished yet, Singapore will be another tightly contested match” Jake Letts of Philippine Rugby, also sharing his thoughts.
The final will be played at Queenstown Stadium, Singapore 7:00pm on Friday night.