Maiden Santo Match a Storming Success

Rain did not dampen the spirits of the Philippine Tamaraws Rugby League team who defeated the Westpac Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) 32-16 in the maiden international test played Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu).

An impressive crowd of 2,021 fans attended in torrential rain for their first taste of live Rugby League.

It was a true island test with bamboo goalposts and makeshift goalpost pads against a backdrop of palm trees and outer islands of the Sanma Province.

This did not intimidate the Tamaraws who raced out to a 24-0 lead at half-time before Vanuatu fought back strongly in an exciting second half.

Philippines lock forward Rez Phillips won man of the match in an impressive performance while centre Nelson Law was voted Vanuatu’s best on ground and was always dangerous at left centre in attack and made some crucial tackles in defence.

The game has been declared an economic success with many fans from Australia and throughout Vanuatu converging on Santo to attend the event. Profits returned from the VRL will be reinvested in growing the game of rugby league in Santo and the rest of Vanuatu.

VRL President Tom Carlo was very happy with the way the event unfolded.

“The event wouldn’t be possible without our amazing group of sponsors in Westpac, Air Vanuatu, the Kava Emporium and Wantok Network Communications and all the local businesses in Santo who got behind the event to make it financially viable in the first place”, Mr Carlo said.

“Full credit to the Santo Boars and the organising committee of the event who did an outstanding job to ensure the event was a success. We’ll certainly be back to play in Santo in the future and it’s given us a great platform in terms of exposure and resources to further grow the game in Vanuatu and particularly in Santo”, Mr Carlo added.

Momentum continues to build for the VRL with impressive performances in Port Vila’s 28-20 victory over the Santo Boars in the annual inter-provincial fixture. A number of players enhanced their chances in a number of unique upcoming selection opportunities.

Interim Vanuatu Coach John Nash was suitably impressed with the development of the players in Vanuatu.

“In only three short years the transformation of the local players has been amazing. The Port Vila vs Santo game was a high quality game of rugby league and we’ve gone from only a handful of players being able to play at International level to a large group of players which is very exciting for us”, Mr Nash said.

“We’ll look to put together new High Performance squads in both Port Vila and Santo and those squads will be the basis to select squads moving forward.”

“We’re going to play in the International 9’s tournament in Sydney in February and also have a number of opportunities for players to play with clubs in Australia, so there is plenty for our players to strive to. The two big opportunities will be the Pacific Games team for 2015 and further Test matches at the end of 2015”, Mr Nash added.

Philippines 32 (Dennis Gordon – 2, Jonico Hardwick – 2 and Shane Gray tries. Steve Tolo – 4/4, Arwin Marcus 1/1 and Paul Sheedy 1/1 Goals) defeated Vanuatu 16 (James Wood, Xavier Philip and Sweeny Sablan tries. Joshua Tanner 2/3 Goals).

Match Report

Date: Saturday 11th October 2014

Venue: Chapius Stadium in Luganville, Espiritu-Santo (Vanuatu)

Curtain Raiser: Port Vila 28 defeated Santo Boars 20

Main Game: Philippines 32 defeated Vanuatu 16

Referee: Nicholas Pelgrave (Australia)

Man of the Match: Rez Phillips (Philippines)

Crowd: 2,021

Vanuatu Team:

  1. Shayne Tuilagi
  2. Xavier Philip
  3. Jason Pakoasongi
  4. Nelson Law
  5. Sweeny Sablan
  6. James Wood (Captain)
  7. Joshua Tanner
  8. David Lolo
  9. Anthony Delaivuna
  10. Herbie Henderson
  11. Joey Meninga
  12. Sam Pierce
  13. Samuela Loaloadravu
  14. Alex Philip
  15. Filimone Masei
  16. Ben Lui
  17. Jean Pierrez Kenie
  18. Erick Tosusu
  19. Tonny Lui

Philippines Team:

  1. Richard Goodwin
  2. Steve Tolo
  3. Shane Gray
  4. Dennis Gordon
  5. Jonico Hardwick
  6. Arwin Marcus
  7. Paul Sheedy
  8. Dylan Jones
  9. Luke Srama (Captain)
  10. Glen Power
  11. Steven Bernstrom
  12. Sam Bernstrom
  13. Rez Phillips (Vice Captain)
  14. Ellis Jensen
  15. Micah Hines
  16. Scott Donnelly
  17. Fred Colina
  18. Justin Wrigley

By the Clock:

14th Minute: Try to Philippines Number 4 (Dennis Gordon). Philippines 4 – Vanuatu 0.

15th Minute: Goal to Philippines Number 6 (Arwin Marcus). Philippines 6 – Vanuatu 0.

22nd Minute: Try to Philippines Number 4 (Dennis Gordon). Philippines 10 – Vanuatu 0.

23rd Minute: Goal to Philippines Number 2 (Steve Tolo). Philippines 12 – Vanuatu 0.

34th Minute: Try to Philippines Number 5 (Jonico Hardwick). Philippines 16 – Vanuatu 0.

36th Minute: Goal to Philippines Number 2 (Steve Tolo). Philippines 18 – Vanuatu 0.

40th Minute: Try to Philippines Number 5 (Jonico Hardwick). Philippines 22 – Vanuatu 0.

40th Minute: Goal to Philippines Number 2 (Steve Tolo). Philippines 24 – Vanuatu 0.

Half-Time: Philippines 24 – Vanuatu 0

44th Minute: Try to Vanuatu Number 6 (James Wood). Philippines 24 – Vanuatu 4.

45th Minute: Goal to Vanuatu Number 7 (Joshua Tanner). Philippines 24 – Vanuatu 6.

48th Minute: Try to Vanuatu Number 2 (Xavier Philip). Philippines 24 – Vanuatu 10.

50th Minute: Goal to Vanuatu Number 7 (Joshua Tanner). Philippines 24 – Vanuatu 12.

60th Minute: Try to Philippines Number 3 (Shane Gray). Philippines 28 – Vanuatu 12.

61st Minute: Goal to Philippines Number 2 (Steve Tolo). Philippines 30– Vanuatu 12.

66th Minute: Try to Vanuatu Number 5 (Sweeny Sablan). Philippines 30 – Vanuatu 16.

80th Minute: Penalty Goal to Philippines Number 7 (Paul Sheedy). Philippines 32 – Vanuatu 16.

Full-Time: Philippines 32 – Vanuatu 16