Writer/Athlete (she's a Lady Volcano!) Manila Santos, asked the players for their favorite moments of the tour.
Joe Matthews, Wing
“Winning against UAE. All the support is overwhelming. It was was very humbling and we really appreciate the Filipino people getting behind us, getting behind their team. We do this for you and we can't do this without your support. We really appreciate it and we hope to see you back here in Rizal next year."
Jake Letts, Scrum half
“It was the first day of camp when we all came in together on a Sunday afternoon. We had a meeting and that’s when it sunk in. We were back in the Philippines, as a team. We do it once a year and that’s the best feeling in the world because you catch up with your best mates and you meet your new best friends. Apart from the win that was the best feeling."
David Feeney, Lock
“It has to be standing there for the national anthem during the Hong Kong game, standing in front of our supporters. It really brought home how much support we have locally and it was very emotional.”
Steve Howorth, Lock
“Matty Saunders’ try during the last ten minutes. He just gunned it, went straight for the line and he got there. He’s an amazing player. The most standout moment was obviously the win at the end of this and staying in the top five this year, it’s brilliant. It’s an awesome and amazing feeling."
Justin Coveney, Center
“That first game with Japan was a real special moment because that was the moment we knew we were in the top five. Despite the result in that match and the other two matches after that, we learned a lot.
Who ever thought the Philippines would play a top 20 team in the world so soon?"
Matty Saunders, Wing
"The day before the UAE match, they (coaching staff) surprised us by having relatives and friends present our jerseys to us. It was awesome to get my jersey from my mom, dad & Benny. It was the first time that happened, and it really meant heaps to us players."
Austin Dacanay, Prop
“It’s gotta be definitely right here at the end. We had a long six weeks training at camp. I mean, it wasn’t easy. To finish it this way with a win in front of our home crowd, these are moments that you’ll never, ever forget."
Alex Aronson, Outside half
“I think it was the first time we had a home game in Rizal stadium and the national anthem was played in front of the home crowd. I was just real emotional representing the country and just seeing everyone up there in numbers supporting us."
Michael Letts(c), Fullback
“Probably the first game. Just the experience, especially coming up against the top five in Asia, it was just the achievement of making it into the top five. Looking back we were probably a little bit overwhelmed but we’ll learn from it come next year."
Cleo Gomez, Scrum half
“Probably just getting together with the boys. We came in with a week’s worth of preparation for the first game and we managed to put all that stuff behind us and put all those games together. To come out with a win to stay in the Elite division is pretty exciting. It’ll be exciting next year as well to hopefully get a spot in the World Cup."
“There’s so many good moments from this last six weeks of my life that it’s hard to say. This moment is awesome, being amongst the boys and having a win. You can’t put it down to one moment. There’s everyone watching a scary movie at eleven o’clock back at the team house and all cuddled up together ‘cause we’re scared or at the field when someone does a big hit and everyone gets behind him or we score a try. It’s indescribable."
Gaz Holgate, Center
“Just the constant support from everyone. We had a tough four weeks against the top three nations in Rugby: Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.
I think the moment that stands out most is everyone always supporting us despite our losses -- it’s been so overwhelming. It’s helped us win so much more just by the people standing beside us constantly."
Graeme Hagan, Hooker
“I wouldn’t say there’s one standout moment. I think it’s been a collective process. This was my first year with the Volcanoes so getting close to all the boys, getting to know them and training with them would have to be the standout feature throughout the last six weeks."
Mat Bellenie, Prop
“My standout memory is just being in the line-up during the national anthem. It’s just so emotional you can’t help but start crying. Seeing the crowd standing up, supporting us and their passion is just unparalleled across the world.
You can’t ask for a better bunch of supporters than Philippine supporters. They’re always there, they’re the 16th man, they drive us forward. So standing up at that line-up and looking at people singing the national anthem is my standout moment."