After being dormant in the competition for six years, the Philippines’ Lady Volcanoes made a return to the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship Division 1 on a triumphant note.
The Pinays, behind comebacking Aiumi Ono who was also named team captain, the nationals’ months of preparation paid great dividend as they toyed with India, 19-5, at the Queenstown Stadium in Singapore on Tuesday night.
Muddy conditions notwithstanding, the Lady Volcanoes fought neck-and-neck with their rivals in the first half of play before center Sylvia Tudoc to cut through the Indians’ defensive cracks and score the first points for the Philippines.
“It was a tough road for me to be back on the team after an ACL injury. I’m really excited and privileged to lead this team for ARWC. We have been preparing for this tournament for a long time and had intensive training the past 4 months. Seeing the improvement of the team really excites me even more,” Ono shared about their first fifteens format outing since 2002.
Come the second half, veteran playing coach Ada Milby replaced the injured Tanya Bird. It didn’t take long before she put the Philippines on overdrive and scored another five-pointer for the Pinays at the 65th minute.
India finally got on the board after scoring at the 70th minute, but its efforts proved futile as the Lady Volcanoes stood their ground on the defensive end until the final second.
With the win, the Pinays have arranged a championship showdown against the heavily favored home team on Friday, June 8.
“It’s a great start to the tournament, credit to the players and coaching staff, they have worked hard for this victory. It’s not finished yet, Singapore will be another tightly contested match,” said Jake Letts, Philippine Rugby general manager.