Manila 10s, International Rugby Festival boost PHL sports tourism

MANILA — The heat is on for rugby-touch football competitions and the country’s sports tourism got a boost anew with the Philippines hosting the forthcoming International Rugby Festival.

Claire Barberis, President of the Federation of Touch Football Pilipinas (FTFP) and chairperson of M10s announced during Tuesday’s Philippine Sports Association (PSA) Forum that 36 countries are seeing action in the International Rugby Festival which kicks off on March 25 at the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

Barberis said local rugby teams– Philippine Volcanoes and Manila NOMADS will test their mettle against players from New Zealand, the defending titlist, and teams from Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asian countries to include Singapore, Australia, Hongkong, UAE, Taiwan, Korea,Malaysia and Fiji.

“Globally speaking, Filipino players are competitive and can match the skills of teams abroad,” Barberis said , emphasizing that their federation has a grassroot development program across the country despite the high physical impact on the nature of the sports.

Barberis, who expressed gratitude to their sponsors, is optimistic that the interest of rugby continue to rise as their association found a home field in San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Along side with the rugby festival, the Manila 10s Touch Invitational tournament will excite local communities that include the regular Puma Touch League Season that has set the sports tone this year.

The Touch Invitational Tournament is open to all local and international teams. There are three divisions for the tournament–Women’s Open, Women’s Under-18 and Men’s Under-18.

“Tournaments like the Festival and the Manila 10s are avenues for local players to improve and develop the skills,” said Bianca Arco, FTFP marketing officer, who noted that the sports has been growing fast for the past two years since local players participated in the 2015 World Cup (Rugby) held in Australia. Primo Agatep/PNA-northboundasia.com