Pinoy rugby players seek to build on their 2018 success as they brace for a hectic year ahead highlighted by the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics and the golden bid at the Southeast Asian Games.

“2019 will be one of the busiest years to date for the Volcanoes,” Philippine Rugby Football Union general manager Jake Letts told The STAR.

The Volcanoes’ Sevens team will kick off the season by vying as as one of only two Asian sides qualified for the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens from April 5-7, where tickets to the World Series will be at stake, followed by another stint at the Asia Sevens Series.

The two tough tournaments, stressed Letts, will help the Volcanoes gear up for the Olympic Qualifications in November and the SEAG in Phl in December.

“The Volcanoes will be eyeing the Olympic Qualification as a top priority. The top two teams in Asia will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Currently, the Volcanoes are ranked third so there’s a genuine chance of reaching the Olympics,” said Letts.

“The SEA games in Clark will also be an important event for the Volcanoes Sevens with another gold medal for the Philippines an important goal,” Letts said.

The Lady Volcanoes will also embark on a sprited quest for glory, hoping to sustain the charge from their runner-up finishes in the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship Division 1 (15s) and the Asia Trophy Series Division 2 (7s).

“Building on their momentum from both the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship and Asia Trophy Series, the Lady Volcanoes will be aiming for first in both. They will also aim for a podium finish for Team Phl in the SEA Games,” said Letts.

The PRFU exec described 2018 as probably “our most successful season since 2012.”

“ As an NSA, internationally, we competed in 10 campaigns and we were successful in eight so it’s safe to say we had an 80 percent success rate this year,” said Letts.

He cited the victory of the men’s 15s in Division 1 of the ARC, the men’s 7s’ bronze medal in the Asia Sevens Series, the Lady Volcanoes’ twin silver medals, and the Junior Volcanoes third place at the ARC U19 Division 1 Championship as their biggest achievements for the year.

REPRINTED FROM THE PHILIPPINE STAR BY OLMIN LEYBA

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