The SPI Volcanoes are looking to finish strong in their final match of the Asia Rugby Championships as they face United Arab Emirates in a playoff match for third place this Saturday in Ipoh, Malaysia.
The Volcanoes have not been able to withstand and convert pressure into points in their first two matches, going down to Sri Lanka in their opening game on Sunday and Malaysia on Wednesday.
“It’s been a tough campaign for us, losing key personnel early in the tournament. Credit to Sri Lanka and Malaysia, they were the better team on the day. We do however have one game left, and want to ensure that we perform to the best of our ability, which I know we can and finish third in the championships” stand in captain Jake Robrigado Letts shared.
The Volcanoes will have to pass UAE, a team the Volcanoes last played in 2013 at Rizal Memorial Stadium, in the playoff match to hold their position in Division 1. In 2013, the Philippines were successful beating the visiting nation 24 points to 8.
“The last time we played them it was tough match, they are a new side now and so are we. They have had two close matches in this series also so we know Saturday is going to another tough one” shared veteran prop forward and vice captain Austin Garnica Dacanay.
Both the Philippines and UAE have everything to fight for in the playoff match, the winner not only finishes third but also cements their place in Division 1 again in 2018. The loser will be relegated into Division 2.
With a string of injuries to the playing roster, the SPI Volcanoes are expected to keep a similar line up. Michael Estrada Duhig at hooker is hopeful to make a return after being forced to sit out the first two matches with injury.
“Looking ahead our coaching staff will field our strongest 23 available, I know the players here have what it takes to win this playoff match. I am more than confident that if we can do the basics well, limit our error rate and play to our shapes we can come away with the win. It’s a new day, we have the opportunity to turn the result in our favor and I know the players will be giving it everything come Saturday” Letts added.
The SPI Volcanoes will kick off at 2.00pm on Saturday, May 27. Games are covered by Astro, Rugby Pass and showed live on the Asia Rugby Facebook page.