AT least 36 teams, including clubs from New Zealand, are seeing action in the 28th Manila 10s International Rugby Festival from March 18 to 20 at Nomads Sports Club in Paranaque City.
North Harbour of New Zealand and clubs from Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia Indonesia, UK, Japan, Australia and the US are entered in the tournament.
Members of the Philippine Volcanoes will suit up for various local clubs, while the Philippine Under-14 and Under 16 teams, fresh from medal-winning performances in a Bangkok tournament are also seeing action in the two-day three-division tournament.
Teams from Davao, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Pampanga, Subic and Laguna are entered.
“This will draw top attendance of over 36 teams, including two youth teams and we estimate a crowd of around 5,000 there,” said Philippine Rugby Football Union Rick Santos on Tuesday at the PSA Forum.
The Manila 10s is hosted annually by the Manila Nomads Sports Club in partnership with the PRFU and ANZCHAM Philippines.
“This is the first time the U-14 and U-16 will be taking part. This will be the first time the top side in New Zealand is coming. And this will be the toughest, most interesting and most social edition of the Manila 10s,” said Santos.
Volcanoes veterans Kenneth Stern and Alex Aronson and Lito Ramirez, the first homegrown player to make the roster of the national team coming out of the PRFU’s grassroots program, are playing for Santos’ Mavericks.
The event formally opens on Mar. 18, with the tournament proper starting the next day.