We lost both matches.
I just got off the bus with the team and it felt like a funeral in there so it falls upon me to be the ray of sunshine. This does not happen. However, having just most of the last 72 hours in these guys’ pockets, I will be a fucking ray of sunshine if I have to. I wasn’t exactly sent to Borneo for my lack of enthusiasm. (If you’re looking for psychotic intensity look no farther.)
The Volcanoes in red, the Japanese in blue. The Japanese 7s team plays together all year round. The members of the Philippine 7s team met each other last Tuesday and trained together for two days. Not an excuse, a factoid.
So here’s the upside. In the first game the Philippines lost to Japan 34-12. This is not a debacle. No one expected the Philippines to win. But the Volcanoes scored two tries (by Patrice Olivier and by Noel Flowers, conversion by Harry Morris) against Japan and after halftime came within 5 points. Japan is an established rugby nation and the defending champion in this tournament.
Noel pointed out that Sri Lanka could not match the physicality of the Filipino team. What they had was a very big player who had so much pace they couldn’t catch him. Noel, whose wife Lucy flew in from Cebu to watch him play, had two greatish matches. I guess if you grow up with the name Flowers in Australia, you’d better know how to play rugby.
In the second game the Philippines lost to Sri Lanka 26-12. The Volcanoes took the early lead (try by Justin Coveney, conversion by Harry Morris, try by Mark Chatting) 12-5 but Sri Lanka caught up in the second half and ran away. Sri Lanka is an established rugby nation, and for a fledgling sevens team to score two tries against them is, as Coach pointed out, progress.
Now I will give you the nerd explanation, so those who have not read Dune may stop here. The Volcanoes are the Fremen scattered across the deserts of Arrakis. Japan are the Sardaukar, Sri Lanka the Harkonnen (I’m not suggesting they’re evil, just making a science-fiction analogy). The Fremen have the ability to beat the Sardaukar, but first they must unite and train with the Atreides and the Bene Gesserit. It will happen.
Tomorrow the Philippines competes for the Bowl. I feel like I should buy everyone a drink, but they’re not allowed and there are games to play tomorrow.
This exclusive coverage of the Philippine Volcanoes at the Borneo 7s is brought to you by JessicaRulestheUniverse.com through a sponsorship from Globe Telecom, which is not responsible for cusswords or Dune analogies.