THE Philippines edged Sri Lanka in a see-saw battle, 26-25, in their Asian 5 Nations match in Colombo on Saturday, ensuring that the Volcanoes won’t finish at the bottom of the Elite Division in 2014.
Behind 19-25, the Volcanoes fought back with scrum-half Jake Letts driving the ball over the Tuskers forward pack for a try and a 25-24 lead.
Fly half Alex Aronson bungled his first kick, but got another shot when the referee declared that the Tuskers charged towards the Philippine kicker too early, and he converted his second for the final count.
“It just happened so quickly. I saw a little gap and was able to dart through. The next thing I remember, I was forcing myself to score the try. I was worried that I would lose the ball. Luckily, I didn’t,” said Letts, the Volcanoes’ most-capped player.
Sri Lanka scored first with a penalty kick early in the first half which was answered by the Volcanoes with a try from Matt Saunders. The rest of the first half was a seesaw battle that ended with the Philippines leading, 19-17, with the Volcanoes’ tries coming from David Feeney, Steve Howorth and two conversions by Captain Oliver Saunders.
A try and a converted penalty kick gave Sri Lanka the lead in the second half, with the Volcanoes failing to capitalize on one of the Tuskers getting sent off the field with a yellow card.
“Our boys showed a lot of resilience and character. I’m very proud of our team for never giving up. The culture and brotherhood that the Volcanoes have is something special to be a part of. It’s great to finally give our supporters a win,” said Volcanoes captain Oliver Saunders.
The Volcanoes face South Korea on home soil in their final game of the series on Saturday at Southern Plains Field in Laguna.