THE Volcanoes earned their first trip to the World Cup after finishing in third place in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series in Singapore on Saturday.
The Volcanoes booked the third and last spot allotted for Asia in the Rugby World Cup Sevens which Moscow will be hosting after beating South Korea, 22-19, in Singapore.
They became one of a few national squads to play in the world championships of a team sport as they join Asian power Japan and Hong Kong in the 24-team showcase next year.
The Japanese won the crown by beating Hong Kong, 14-12.
“It is just fantastic that we are going to the World Cup,” said Filipino captain Harry Morris. “This is the first time that the Philippines will be playing in a World Cup and it is a huge feat for us.”
“The third/fourth match was definitely closer than I wanted it to be,” said Philippines coach Al Caravelli. “It is the first time that a Philippines team has qualified for a team sport world championship and I give credit to the players for doing this for the nation.”
The Volcanoes lost to Japan, 17-7, in the semifinals but bounced back in the battle for third place, staving off a late rally by the Koreans after taking a 22-7 lead early in the second half.
Caravelli said the Volcanoes will be going to Moscow not just to fill up the numbers.
“The match against Korea was exactly what you want from any game with that much on the line. Now we need to lift our level further. We don’t just want to be a number in Moscow, we’d like to make the Philippines and Asia proud of us,” said Caravelli.