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Rugby Union on the rise in the Philippines

July 10, 2015

Article by Andrew Pirie ATFS Statistician

When i was working for the PSC one of the sports handled by the Office of Commissioner Gomez was Rugby Union. He really has/had a treasure chest of sports.

1. Growing up in New Zealand

Rugby Union is the national sport of New Zealand, with the world famous ‘All Blacks’ and Haka.  Growing up on the Kapiti Coast Rugby was always secondary for me to athletics. However since it was a tradition and most of my friends played it it was inevitable i would learn the game and become a fan of the sport. I started playing Rugby when i go to high school mainly in lunch times with the bigger athletes to demonstrate my speed, but i soon learnt how to tackle much larger opponents. I never played Rugby in high school as I devoted my time full time towards athletics as the faster sprinter in the school from 14, and one of the countries best high school sprinters. I did play 11 aside Rugby when i was in College in Palmerston North and even served as Team Manager for two years at International Pacific College.

All Black Haka

All Black Haka

2. The Philippines has a Rugby Team

Yes the Philippines plays Rugby Union. And along with Basketball, Baseball and Softball its our best team sport right now. Although alot less countries play Rugby Union than the other sports we did very well at SEA Games level.

Our men’s Sevens (Union but shorter game with 7 men instead of the standard 15) mainly comprising of Filipino Australians won the SEA Games Gold Medal in 2015 in Singapore the women. Philippine took bronze in the women’s behind Thailand and Singapore. The Women’s team was mainly comprised of local players.

The Brilliant work of Matt Cullen Director of PRFU, an Australian who has been in the Philippines for 15 years married to a Filipina, he is working on a deal with San Miguel. I had many good conversations with Matt and last time i spoke he said Rugby Union now has 13 teams in the Philippines although by the looks at how hard he and others have been working it might now be more.

PRFU Director Matt Cullen holding a beer.

PRFU Director Matt Cullen holding a beer.

3. Local Development of Rugby

More recently the Clark’s Jets won the 2015 Edition of the PSC National Games beating 2013 and 2014 winner power house Alabang eagles. It really was the case of David vs Goliath. Alabang had a national player and players twice the size of the Jets. What made this historic was that this team is composed of all homegrown Filipino athletes many of whom come from an orphanage and public schools. This is a result of a strong grassroots program coupled with dedicated private supporters. The Volcanoes in the SEA Games were mostly Fil-heritage players, in a few years time you will see some of the Jets as well as some players from other areas like Albay Vulcans Cagayan de Oro, Davao, etc. become part of the winning team. This is how a sport develops (From Jolly Gomez FB Page)

The Clark Jets 2015 PNG Champions.

The Clark Jets 2015 PNG Champions.

4. Why we should not fear Fil-Foreign Athletes

This is one reason why we shouldn’t be too fearful about Fil-Foreign Athletes  as they help promote the sport like any other pure-Filipino athlete and help level up the local athletes.

  1. By Inspiring, creating sports heroes were kids lack older role models

  2. By participating providing stronger competition for locals

  3. Transfer of Technology passing of skills and training knowledge

Below is a Grass roots video that shows very promising future for the next generation who happen to be local athletes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vGIgJnF3MY

Matt Cullen (left) with one of his star players Dennis Gordon (right)

Matt Cullen (left) with one of his star players Dennis Gordon (right)

Philippines is a growing power house in Rugby union. They are coached by Australian Matt Cullen who has being living in the Philippines quite a while and now calls it home. The team sports we really excel at are Basketball, Baseball and Softball but the Philippines could also be good at Rugby. Right now the Philippines ranks 4th in Asia behind Japan, Hong Kong and Taipei.

The Philippine Rugby team is mainly composed of Filipino Australians, but the other countries such as Japan and Hong Kong are recruiting athletes with no nationality blood at all into there lineups.

The Philippine Rugby team is based at Southern Plains on the South Super Highway takes the sta. Rosa exit turn right and then the Silangan exit R1 Highway.

Right now there are 13 Rugby clubs in the Philippines with 3 more forming.

2006 Vince Mellars

Article on Vince Mellars, Mellars was in my year at Kapiti College and quite a good friend. Interesting to see he went onto play Rugby League for various clubs in Australia.

Vince Mellars 2006

 2004

New Zealand team to U19 World Champs

Under 19 Squad named for world juniors

2003

Doug Howlett

Former All Black winger was actually a 100 and 110 Hurdles Champion at the NZ Secondary Schools. He used to run at local meets in Auckland when i was beginning athletics and i saw he recorded 10.94 for 100m and a 22 low for the 200.

Doug Howlett -NZSS 100m and 110H.

Rugby World Cup unsure

 

2003 Rugby WC Unsure

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