The Philippine Rugby Football Union will launch the 2019 domestic 15s season on February 9, 2019 at Southern Plains in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines. The JML Premiership Shield will feature eight teams across Luzon coming together for over 14 rounds.
The teams are ranked in one division across two pools based on their standings in 2018. The Eagles RFC are top seeds and will face the HMR Ibons, Clark Jets and the Manila Carabaos in Pool A while the Manila Nomads will be ranked top of Pool B to face the Santos Knight Frank Mavericks, the Albay Bulkans and the Makati Chiefs.
Local teams will be boosted by national player contingents. Some exciting talent will be featured each week with the likes of Joe Palabay Dawson, Jonel Madrona, Lito Ramirez, Jeremy Hernandez, Nick Jones, Edlen Hernandez, Ian Pausanos, Reymarc Bustillo, Steven Near, David Feeney, Timothy Bweheni, Jovic Paypon and Ric Bellen, who are all key members for their local clubs.
“This year will be a first for the PRFU (to have) all eight Luzon-based teams in one division,” PRFU rugby development manager Jovan Masalunga said. “It’s going to be exciting to see each week. Teams will be seeded and ranked accordingly by the end of the regular season and it will break off to a Top 4 and bottom 4 for the playoffs. Only one team will be crowned Premiership champions.”
The 15s domestic season has a strong history for over 15 years with Rugby predominately starting from the Nomads Rugby Club. Come 2019, the club will feature three teams, two male and one female, a first in its history.
“Nomads Rugby Club has been around for decades,” PRFU general manager Jake Letts said. “This week, they not only continue their legacy but also add to it with the launch of their first ever 15s women’s team. It will be a special occasion for such an iconic club team in the Philippines.”
The women’s 15s division will see four teams vying for the title namely the Eagles RFC, the Makati Chiefs, the Santos Knight Frank Mavericks and the Manila Rogues. All teams face off in a round robin format before the final playoffs.
The women’s competition is equally exciting with the likes of Aiumi Ono, Rassiel Sales, Sylvia Tudoc and Hilla Indigne all taking the field for their respective clubs. An U19s Colts Division will continue for the regular season as both the Eagles RFC and the SKF Mavericks continue their programs with established player pathways for their Junior Programs, which is another positive development for the PRFU.
As the first week of the 2019 JML Premiership Shield kicks off at Southern Plains, the opening game will feature the Santos Knight Frank Mavericks taking on the Manila Rogues in the women’s division. For the men’s division, top seeds Eagles RFC will face the Manila Carabaos followed by the match of the day where the Santos Knight Frank Mavericks take on the Manila Nomads.
Games kick off from 12:00 p.m. It will be followed by 1:45 pm start for the second match and the final game at 3:30 pm.
Youth Rugby kicks off in the morning with the Junior Touch Rugby teams opening the day from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Entry is free.
Meanwhile, watch the full Asia Rugby U19 Championship here: