THE Philippine Rugby Football Union will host Division 1 of the Asian Rugby Championship on May 6 and 9 at the Philippine Stadium in Bulacan.
The ARC, formerly known as the Asian 5 Nations, is Asia’s premier competition for Rugby Union. The Philippine Volcanoes, ranked fourth in Asia, are the top-ranked team in Division 1, followed by Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Singapore.
The event kicks off on May 6 with the Sri Lanka battling Kazakhstan at 2 p.m. and the Philippines taking on Singapore at 4 p.m. May 9 will pit the opening-day losers in a battle for third place at 4 p.m. and the opening-day winners batting for the title.
“We’re very excited to be back playing on home soil,” said Volcanoes captain Oliver Abalos Saunders. “The prospect of playing in front of our countrymen and relatives never fails to pump up the team. It’s a special feeling to feel and hear the crowd’s support. It definitely pushes us to do better.”
The ARC is the first international sporting event that will be held in the 25,000-seater Philippine Stadium, part of the world-class Ciudad de Victoria complex in Bulacan.
“The Philippine Stadium was the key to securing the right to host the tournament,” said Philippine Rugby Football Union director Matt Cullen.
“Upon inspection, the tournament officials were immediately impressed with this world-class facility. We’re grateful for the incredible support that the Iglesia ni Cristo has shown throughout the bidding process which thankfully resulted in the Philippines’ being awarded hosting duties.”
The Philippine Volcanoes competed in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens held in Moscow and in the 17th Asian Games finished fifth place. The Volcanoes will compete in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore this year and the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers for Asia.