Guam – The Guam Men’s Rugby team flies out early Sunday morning to join Pakistan, China and Indonesia in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Division 3 rugby tournament to be held at the UPH Stadium in Karawaci, Jakarta on June 22 and 25.
Guam’s first match will be against Pakistan on Wednesday June 22 while China (surprisingly relegated from Division 2 last year) play the host Indonesia. The winners of these matches facing off on June 25 for the Division 3 Championship and automatic promotion to Division 2.
The Guam team goes into the competition with a blend of experience and youth. Old hands Paul Claros, Len Calvo, Tony Terlaje Gilbert (back from the US mainland), John Arceo, Paul Eustaquio, Randy Mendiola and brothers Steven and Matthew Sablan are joined by former and current high school standouts Stephen “Juice” Santos, Robbie Leon Guerrero, Brandon O’Mallan, Ryan McManus and Art Toves.
Robbie Leon Guerrero has just returned from New Zealand, where he is on a rugby scholarship at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton. He played in an intercity college rivalry match on Saturday against St Peter’s and got straight on a plane for Guam to attend the final week of the training camp. He will return to St Paul’s immediate after the internationals for a further three months. St Paul’s is coached by former Auckland Blues and New Zealand Women’s World Rugby Champions Coach Jed Rowlands.
Brandon O’Mallan, who was at St Paul’s last year, returned to New Zealand this year and is playing with the Morrinsville Sports Club in the local Waikato competition alongside New Zealand All Black half back Brendon Leonard. These players, along with Paul Eustaquio and John Arceo, who played in New Zealand last year, are really showing the benefits of playing regular competitive rugby.
Coach Willie Hetaraka is pleased with the preparation of the team “There is a lot of natural talent and pride in playing for our island on this team and the boys are really up for the challenges that this tournament brings. All of these players have demonstrated an attitude and a level of commitment to training that shows me that they want to win the tournament. I am especially pleased with the players that have spent time in New Zealand, playing with and being coached by some of New Zealand’s best. These players have shown considerable improvement in their technical skills as well as there general rugby playing ability.”
“I am extremely grateful to Coach Willie Hetaraka and his assistant Dean Kaio. These men bring vast experience from New Zealand and have been a tremendous help in getting the best out of our relatively small and young player pool. The rugby community of Guam have all worked hard with very limited resources to give this group of players the chance to enjoy the challenge of International rugby” said Stephen Grantham, Guam Rugby Union President.
“The continuing cycle of our younger players joining the national team is very pleasing to me. I know these young men will play with great pride and commitment. We are very optimistic for good results” he added.
The schedule for the matches is :
June 22 1.30 pm Guam v Pakistan
3.00 pm China v Indonesia
June 25 1.30 pm Losers play off for 3rd and 4th place
3.00 pm Winners play off for Division 3 title and promotion to Division 2
Back Row (Left to right): Matthew Sablan, Carlos Eustaquio, Pete Calori (non-travelling reserve), Matthew Toves, Dean Kaio (Asst. Coach in back), Leonard Calvo, Basil O’Mallan, Tony Terlaje Gilbert, Zeb Howser, Brandon O’Mallan, Rob Leon Guerrero, Sixto Quintanilla, Brian Ramiro, John Arceo, Coach Willie Hetaraka, Ryan McManus, Guam Rugby President Stephen Grantham
Front Row: Eddie Calvo, Randy Mendiola, Art Toves, Robbie Leon Guerrero, Paul Claros (Captain), Steven Sablan, Stephen Santos, Paul Eustaquio, Gerard Aguon, Vern Lokeijack (non-travelling reserve)
Information from a press release.