MANILA— The Philippine Volcanoes kept their status in Division 1 of the Asia Rugby Championship after beating UAE, 34-26, in a do-or-die playoff in Ipoh, Malaysia on Saturday.
Justin Coveney quickly put the Volcanoes up with a try in just 28 seconds.
But UAE went ahead afterward as Edward Talbot scored the equalizing try followed by Andrew Stevenson’s conversion for the 7-5 edge.
Kevin Gordon pulled one try back to give the Philippines a 10-7 advantage only for Stevenson to knot the count again at 10 apiece with a field goal of his own.
Patrice Olivier ended the first half with his own try to put the Volcanoes on top, 15-10.
The Volcanoes tried to pull away early in the second half, but UAE fought back and tied the game anew, 26-all.
Olivier then made a breakthrough try with nine minutes left to put the Volcanoes back up, 31-26.
The defense then held UAE scoreless, and Gaz Holgate sealed the win with a field goal with 30 seconds left.
“[This is] a well-deserved win to our Volcanoes. I am extremely proud of the way we finished. It’s been a tight campaign. I am so happy to finish on a high and secure third place,” said Austin Dacanay, who played his last game as national team player.
The loss relegated UAE to Division 2.