I went to see Damo after the meeting this morning and was given some very bad news, I had been rules out of the test match against Hong Kong. Damo had made the call the night before and when I couldn’t do a straight let raise he knew that it was the right decision. The news devastated me. I worked hard in the lead up to the camp and was aware of the areas that I needed to work on to improve from the trial. At the moment, I can’t see the silver lining but everything happens for a reason.
After processing the disappointment by getting a haircut, we had jersey presentation for the test team at the Manila Polo Club. This is the opposite end of the spectrum from Smokey Mountain. The plush surroundings and good food provided a stark contrast and showed how prosperous the Philippines can be. The boys received their jerseys and it was great to see the players who earned their spot through a tough week of work receive their reward. A number of players will be making their debut and it is awesome to welcome them to the brotherhood.
After the jersey presentation, the PRFU board filled in the players on where the union is heading. From 2007 to the present, the board has dragged rugby from being a new sport to one teetering on the edge of national prominence. The board has done a great job of developing all levels of rugby in the Philippines with juniors growing, women’s rugby developing, the club competition improving and the national teams excelling. The changes have been positive and I look forward to more in the future.
Finally, we thanked our management staff. Expo finds Filipino players all over the world and binds them into a unit so quickly. He is an example of professionalism with the Pinoy spirit of pride in our culture. Jared connects with the players through expertise and positivity. The team responds to the pushing and prodding as he strives to force each player and unit to their potential. Damo keeps us on the field. The physio never stops working and Damo’s work ethic and knowledge is invaluable. He got me back on the field and he had my best interests at heart when he ruled me out. Finally, Chooky aka Matt. He drives the PRFU bus and is doing so much good work in the Philippines. He goes into the orphanages, keeps up relations with sponsors and is always ready for a good chin wag.
As disappointed as I am not to be playing, I can’t wait to see the boys take on Hong Kong. Everyone is ready to catch them unawares. We did not play well on Thursday, but the game meant nothing. We watched the video and understand where we went wrong and how we can fix it. This one is for all the marbles and I know the boys are prepared and are going to get the job done.