Long Southeast Asian Games buildup for rugby athletes

March 27, 2019

THE Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) is eyeing to score a double victory in the 30th Southeast Asian Games which the country is hosting later this year.

International tournaments have been lined up for both the men’s and women’s teams leading to the SEA Games this November 30-Dec. 11 in hopes of completing a first ever two-gold medal haul in the sport.

The men’s team alone will compete in four tournaments before the biennial meet, including the 2020 Olympic Qualifiers in Incheon, South Korea in November.

“In terms of our preparations, both the men and women’s teams are preparing to the best of their abilities. The more access we have on international exposure, the better our programs will be,” said Philippine rugby team manager Jake Letts in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel Manila.

PRFU President Rick Santos, also chairman and founder of Santos Knight Frank, as well as national team members Lito Ramirez, Evan Spargo, and Sylvia Tudoc also graced the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Tapa King, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).

The Philippine Volcanoes last won the SEA Games gold in 2015, while the Lady Volcanoes’ highest podium finish was a bronze medal also won in the same 2015 edition of the meet.

Spargo said the men’s side is raring to regain back the gold, especially with the country hosting the event for the first time since 2005.

“Rest assured that we will  have the best team in the SEA Games,” he said.

Letts mentioned Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand as the top contenders for the gold. The Malaysians are the defending men’s champion, while the Thais are the reigning title holder in the distaff side.

“By no means will it be an easy ride to any medal. We’re expecting the best from Thailand, the best from Singapore, the best from Malaysia. But in return, we also expect the best from our athletes, from our coaches, from our managers. We’re definitely a competitive nation,” said the PRFU manager.