Back-to-back victories over Singapore have resulted in the Philippines clinching the Asia Rugby Championship Division I title and a three-place rise in the World Rugby Rankings.

The Volcanoes beat Singapore 38-12 in the return leg in Laguna having won the first match 32-24, to ease to a 70-36 aggregate victory.

After captain Steve Howorth accounted for the Philippines’ first try, Justin Coveney contributed 10 points with a try double and Joe Dawson added to his brace from the first encounter with another try.

In his first international start, Robin Fogerty produced a near-flawless display of goal-kicking to bag 18 points.

With 0.93 of a rating point on offer for the comprehensive win, the Philippines have moved above Mexico, the Cook Islands and Croatia into 53rd place. Singapore drop two to 60th with Israel and Latvia the sides to benefit.


In what was a good week for Asian sides all round, Hong Kong’s 26-3 win against the Cook Islands in Rarotonga put them one step closer to a place in the RWC 2019 global repechage tournament, while Sri Lanka profited from Morocco’s defeat to Namibia in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup to move above them to 40th place in the rankings.

Namibia, ranked 23rd, picked up 0.38 of a point for their third consecutive bonus-point Gold Cup win to close the gap on Canada to just over six tenths.

Neither Kenya’s 45-36 Gold Cup win over Zimbabwe nor Samoa’s 66-15 victory over Germany in the first leg of their RWC 2019 Oceania/Europe play-off affected the rankings as the winning teams are ranked significantly higher than their opponents.