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Home > News > Phillipine Volcanoes continue their rise to the top of Asian 5N
Your News Phillipine Volcanoes continue their rise to the top of Asian 5N

Playing with an all Filipino heritage team for the first time in its history, the Philippines National Rugby team won the HSBC Asian Five Nations (HSBC A5N) Division II competition today with a solid 34-12 victory over hosts India. The win continues an unchecked rise for the Philippines in A5N rugby s they have yet to lose a match in two years of competition in Asia’s elite rugby tournament. In the 3rd/4th place playoff this afternoon Thailand beat China 56-3 to retain its Division II position and send China to next year’s Division III competition.

The hosts India, revved up by the 2000 strong crowd, made a torrid start to the match, notching an early first half try through lock Surinder Singh. The try was converted by the hero of India’s opening 94-nil thrashing of China fullback Rohaan Sethna who finished third top scorer in the tournament with 36.

Despite the Indians fast start, the Philippines quickly found its comfort zone guided by the steady boot of flyhalf Oliver Saunders. Saunders made India pay for a series of crucial penalties and a first half sin-binning, by slotting through five penalties to account for 15 of the Philippines’ 22 first half points. Matt Saunders, brother of Oliver, added the visitor’s sole try of the opening half.

Oliver Saunders was the tournament’s second best points scorer overall with 42 in two games. Over the course of the two-match tournament (semi finals and final) the three Saunders brothers: Oliver, Matt and Ben tallied 62 of the Philippine’s 87 points.

The Volcanoes erupted in the opening moments of the second half. Philippine winger Ken Stern capped some flowing backline moves with strong finishing of his own to capture a brace of tries in the first ten minutes after play had resumed to effectively put the match out of reach.

But India never quit and began to put its own prints back on the game. The effort was rewarded with a second try to the lock Singh. Despite the brave effort on the pitch and the vocal crowd support, the deficit was too vast to overcome and time expired with the final scoreline of 34 – 12.

The Philippines will now move on to replace Chinese Taipei in next year’s Division I. The upstarts of Asian rugby will have a real test on their hands next season as they compete against former Top 5 teams Korea, Singapore and up and comers Malaysia.

Volcanoes coach Expo Mejia said the team was “very proud to have won Division II of the Asian 5 Nations. We came in with idea of rebuilding had 7 debutants on the tour. To come away with a win. It’s an incredible feeling.

We now have to build on he platform we have and the exciting brand of footy we are trying to play. We aren’t expecting too much in Division I but we are thrilled to be there. The Division I teams have a lot of experience and they will be tough. They will also all be eager to get back to the Top 5, but we’ll just enjoy the challenge.”

Team manager Matt Cullen said “Division I will be a huge challenge but we considered Division II a huge challenge. We bought in a professional coach and assembled a young, 100% Filipino team and I think in 12 months we will be able to compete against the likes of Singapore and Malaysia. I am not saying we will win but we will be capable of playing in that division - and looking forward to it.”


Philippines (34): Oliver Saunders (5P, 2C), Matthew Saunders (1T), Ken Stern (2T)

India (12): Surinder Singh (2T), Rohaan Sethna (1C)

Halftime Score: Phils. 22 – 7 India

Full score: Phils. 34 – 12 Thailand

China’s difficulties in the A5N continued as the former Asian powerhouses dropped the 3rd/4th place playoff match to Thailand (56-3). Thailand showed its top form of the tournament against an overmatched China side. Warongkorn Khomkoet had another stylish performance at fullback for Thailand taking 21 points from the day and 44 for the tournament for the top scorer’s title. Wing Pinchit Yingcharoen added a hat-trick of tries to complete the rout.

Following on a 94-0 loss to India in the opening semi final, China will now be relegated to next year’s Division III. The composition of that tournament will be decided this week in the HSBC A5N Division III tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia. That tournament features Pakistan, Guam, Iran and Indonesia with match days on June 9 and 12, 2010.


Thailand (56):

Warongkorn Khamkoet (1T, 2P, 5C – 21pts.), Pichit Yingcharoen (3T – 15), Pongnatee Ngoentong (1T – 5), Anuchit Jaisutti (1T – 5), Sirichai Daothaisong (1T – 5), Yatchakorn Vorachate (1T – 5)

China (3): Liu, Riuzhi (1P – 3)

Halftime Score: Thailand 22 – 3 China

Fulltime Score: Thailand 56 – 3 China

For more information on the HSBC Asian 5 Nations please visit

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