Guam- The Guam Men’s Rugby Sevens Team leaves Guam on Thursday morning to play in the first of two Asian Rugby Sevens Series tournaments at the 2009 Shanghai Sevens to be held on September 5 and 6.
Sanctioned by the International Rugby Board and the Asian Rugby Football Union, the two Asian Series tournaments serve as the Asian Sevens Championship as well as being qualifying tournaments for the IRB’s flagship Hong Kong Sevens tournament each year. The top six teams over the two tournaments earn the coveted invitations to play in Hong Kong where crowds of over 40,000 people watch the tournament.
The Shanghai tournament features Asia’s best Rugby Sevens teams including China, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. Guam enters the tournament ranked number 10 out of the 12 countries competing and has been drawn to play 2009 Shanghai Champions Korea first, followed by Chinese-Taipei and India on Saturday. Knock out play takes place on Sunday.
Coach Willie Hetaraka is pleased with the fitness and commitment of the team. “These young men have the ability, speed and a passion for playing this game at the international level. What they lack in physical stature, they more than make up for with sheer determination and pride in playing for Guam. They have come together in previous tournaments to show Asian rugby that they are a team to be reckoned with and I expect more of the same here.”
Guam Rugby Union President Stephen Grantham is also pleased that the ability of the Guam team is recognized at the highest level in Asian rugby. “We are a small island with very limited resources – playing fields, players and money – but we have shown that we can hold our own against these much bigger and better financed programs. The team is young with newcomers Steven “Juice” Santos, Anselmo “Bo” Untalan and Zeb Howser earning their place with the squad for this tournament. We expect good things from this squad.”
The traveling team members are: Paul Claros (captain), Paul Eustaquio, Randy Mendiola, Steven Sablan, Chris Sgro, Robert Leon Guerrero, Earl Pascual, William Williams, Zebediah Howser, Steven Santos, and Anselmo Untalan. The team is coached by Willie Hetaraka.
Information from a press release.