Philippines win Asian 5 Nations promotion

(IRB.COM) Saturday 4 July 2009
 Philippines win Asian 5 Nations promotion
The Philippines celebrate beating Guam to win Division 3 of the Asian 5 Nations

Tournament hosts Philippine Volcanoes overcame Guam 25-0 to complete a clean sweep in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Division 3 and ensure promotion to Division 2 in 2010.

In the other match on the final day, fourth seeds Iran upset the formbook to overcome third seeds Indonesia with a rousing 48-13 victory at the Nomads Sporting Club in Manila. 

Inspired by the surprising boot of lock forward Rafael Zappia, the Philippines scored 22 second half points, aided by some mistakes from Guam that led to three players being sin-binned, and as a result the visitors played swathes of the match a man down.

The first half was a tense affair with neither side able to establish dominance, the Philippines more dangerous led by captain Michael Letts but only three points came from the boot of Zappia in the 15th minute.

Yellow cards for Guam in the 39th and 45th minutes gave the Philippines the opening it was seeking and led to Guam conceding eight points - a try to number 8 Fred Morris and a penalty to Zappia - for an 11-point lead. In the 68th minute Zappia finished a fine team effort to touch down for a try that he successfully converted to bring his personal tally to 13 points on the day.   

A third and final yellow card to Guam prop forward Matthew Toves led to another score for Rupert Zappia and, showing that kicking skills clearly run in the family, he Zappia converted his try from a tight angle to bring the final score to 25-0. 

The win hands the Philippines the Magellan Cup and also sees them advance to next year’s HSBC Asian Five Nations Division II Tournament against the likes of Thailand (the relegated Division I contender), China and India.

Iran 48-13 Indonesia

In the third/fourth play-off number four seeds Iran upset third seeds Indonesia to finish third after a comprehensive 48-13 victory.  The Iranians scored a try in the first minute only to concede a penalty immediately. They struck again in the 15th minute and then conceded another kickable penalty in the 17th minute to bring the score to 12-6.

Undaunted, Iran scored the next two tries in the 19th and 22nd minutes, this time ensuring that there was no reply from Indonesia with some stifling defence. Without injured fly half and captain Kirk Arundale, Indonesia failed to find the additional gear against the physical Iranians, who scored a further four tries in the second half to coast home easily 48-13 with a brace of tries from centres Hamid Taghavi Nejad and Amin Hosseinzade. 

Hosseinzade added to his 10-point try tally with eight points from four successful conversions, while Indonesia scored its first try of the tournament through flanker Daniel Nugroho with the conversion from full back Warren Wilcox.