Philippine Volcanoes brace for tough task in Division 1 of Asian Rugby Championship
The Philippine Volcanoes had a send-off ceremony before a tough campaign in the 2017 Asian Rugby Championship Division 1. Reuben Terrado 

THE Philippine Volcanoes will compete in the 2017 Asian Rugby Championship Division 1 in Ipoh, Malaysia from May 14 to 20.

The Volcanoes take on host Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates where the top team will advance to Round 2 of the qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“We look forward to the challenge next week,” said Volcanoes team captain Oliver Saunders. “We have a tough tournament coming up. Three tough games of rugby union.”

The Philippines open its campaign against Sri Lanka on May 14 before taking on Malaysia on May 17. The Volcanoes finish with a match against United Arab Emirates on May 20, hoping that they take the top spot in the competition.

The Volcanoes held a send-off ceremony on Wednesday night at the GPI Building in Taguig City where the team was issued their uniforms for the competition.

Saunders is confident the Volcanoes will have enough to show a respectable performance or even a chance to top the Division 1 tournament.

“We have been practicing since last week. Before each tournament, we go together, prepare, and train hard. We’ve done all the work,” said Saunders.

A member of the Volcanoes for 11 years, Saunders is glad that support to the Volcanoes is coming in.

“Year 2007 was my first season with the Philippine Volcanoes. Back then, it’s very raw and the sport is really new. It is still new but back then, it is not as professional as it is now.

“We are very lucky at the moment to have sponsors. They are very good for our program. It’s very professional now,” said Saunders.

The members of the team are Austin Garnica Dacanay, Aldrin Deposoy Mercado, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Michael Estrada Duhig, Philip Benares Abraham, David Paz Robinson-Polkey, Eric Cruz Erickson, Ray Conrad Laforteza, Steve Pagtalunan Howorth, David Feeney, Ashley Matias Heward, Chris Anderson, Terrence Javier Carroll, Benjamin Priagola Mudie, Gerald Zamora Tulud, Edlen Cortez Hernandez, Joe Palabay Dawson, Jake Robrigado Letts, Oliver Abalos Saunders, Justin Villazor Coveney, Jovan Reyes Masalunga, Daniel Ricky Kucia, Timothy Bweheni, Ned Plarizan Stephenson , Harry Dionson Morris, Kevin Sysu Gordon, Patrice Ortiz Olivier, and Francis Tagalia.

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