PHILIPPINE rugby got a shot in the arm in the form of a donation from rugby power New Zealand, and a Manila club showed the benefactors a glimpse of what they can offer on the pitch.
New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan handed a cheque for P800,000 to the Philippine Rugby Football Union for its project “Rugby for All” which includes training and clinics in Negros Occidental for boys and girls from 60 schools.
“We are delighted to share this passion with young Filipinos with the help of the Philippine Rugby Football Union,” said Strachan after handing over the cheque on Monday night. “It is an honor for New Zealand to support the development of the rugby in the Philippines."
The Manila Barbarians impressed the Mangatainoka Barbarians, who had a slim 19-22 win in an exhibition game at the International School Manila in Taguig City.
Jason Schirmer sparked the late run for the Manila Barbarians, and Mangatainoka skipper Cory Kennet sais he was amazed with the fighting spirit of the squad composed of Filipino and foreign players.
“It was a brilliant game, they played fantastically,” Kennet said. “The Filipinos have a huge potential. They’re very energetic, they got a lot of determination and you can’t teach spirit, they have the spirit.”
Kennet and the Mangatainoka Barbarians even performed another Haka at the end of the game as sign of their respect to Manila Barbarians after putting up a good fight.
“For us, that’s why we did the second haka because they earned our respect for the hard they played and they never gave up. I see bright things for Filipino Rugby,” he added.
Lito Ramirez starred as the Manila-based club got to within five in the third after a slow start.
“Nakakakaba noong una kasi ang lalaki nila, tayong mga Filipino maliliit lang tayo sila ang lalaki nila kahit matatanda sila ambibilis nila parang nakakatakot sila sa field,” Ramirez said. “Pero iba pa rin ‘yung dugong Filipino, proud to be filipino ka pa rin na gagawin mo ‘to para sa bansa mo.”
“Sobrang saya ko kasi naka-score ako, quotang quota na ko kahit papaano. Iba ang feeling kapag nakakalaro ka ng mga higher division tapos nakascore ka pa,” added the full back.
“Sana sa susunod ulit bumalik sila para matuto pa kami kung paano maglaro ng sports ng Rugby.
“Magiging maganda ‘yung progress dito sa rugby para at least ma-enhance din kami sa mga skills namin at saka makaexperience din kami ng mga pangolympics or world rugby na games."
The Mangatainoka Barbarians will head to Clark Pampanga on Wednesday for the Rugby Open Day and help out with help with clinics for the public and local clubs during the third Annual Palawan Rugby Festival in Puerto Princesa City.