(Photo: Mark Cristino)
Having only joined the Volcanoes last year, Mat Bellenie
can still be considered as one of the newbies on the team. In this entry, he talks about what it was like in 2012 to represent his motherland on the Rugby field for the very first time. 1. It was your first time to play for the Volcanoes in 2012. How did you end up on the team? I knew there was a Filipino team through a college friend who played with (veteran player) Gaz Holgate. I sent my player cv through the website not expecting very much. But the management got back in touch quickly and it just went from there.
I sent the cv in January and was part of the squad in April. In a short space of time I went from a club Rugby player to potentially playing for my country. It was mind blowing! 2. What did you think of your experience at the Asian 5 Nations 2012? It was nothing like I'd ever experienced before. Everything about the tournament blew me away -- from the fans, to the atmosphere in the stadium. I honestly had no idea what I was getting into -- it was literally going into the complete unknown for me. Fortunately, it turned out to be one of the greatest things I've ever been a part of. 3. Was it easy for you to fit into the team and understand what being a Volcano is about? The boys were great from the start, they put me at ease quickly. I think most Rugby boys have the same sense of humour and mentality no matter whereabouts in the world they're from, so it was easy to join in (good banter helped too). Being around the guys who've been there since the beginning really helps you buy into the ethos of being a Volcano. You realise that being a Volcano is important not just for yourself, but for so many people, for so many reasons. 4. Outside of Rugby, what's your life like? I work full time, so it's a balancing act between my job, Rugby training and gym work. I'm also comic nerd so I read plenty of comics, that always helps me relax. Also, being with my mates is always good fun. 5. What's a typical day for you? How do you keep yourself Rugby ready? I work from 7am till 3pm. Afterwards, it's straight to the gym. If it's a non-Rugby day I'll go for a heavier workout. When I have Rugby training I'll do a lighter session. I like to squeeze in a run as well. I keep myself Rugby ready by making sure I'm in good health through diet, exercise and injury management. 6. Tell us something about your family and what it's like living in where you are. My family life is pretty standard. My parents and their partners are 100% supportive of me. They have all helped me in getting ready for life's challenges. My mum loves the fact I've represented the Philippines, she tells all her friends all the time. I also have plenty of family in the Philippines, so many cousins (too many to count), a wonderful sister and Lola, but Brighton has always been my home. It's a buzzing place to live, there are always things to do. In the summer Brighton comes into it's own. It has to be one of the best places in England during the summer.
(Photo: Patrick Uy)
7. What about you would you say is most Filipino?
My rice consumption and dashing good looks.
8. How has playing on the team affected your life?
Being a Volcano means the world to me,it gave my Rugby purpose and made me believe I could achieve something. I feel honoured and humbled to be part of something so special. To put that jersey on filled me with immense pride, especially knowing my mum watched me play in her homeland.
Being a Volcano has defiantly helped me connect with my Filipino roots. I never really thought about that side of my heritage, I was proud to be English. But after the experience of the A5N and playing for the National Team, it made me want to embrace the Filipino part of me more. I want to explore this amazing country and sample the many different things this culture has to offer. I am definitely a Proud Pinoy.
9. What advice can you give to Rugby newbies or people who want to try out the sport?
You should give Rugby a go. It's the best team sport in the world. There are a variety of positions so people of all shapes and sizes can play. I feel Rugby can instill you with the right mental attitude that you can take into every day life, for example discipline, working hard, working within a team but also the fun and enjoyment.
10. What is your message to the Volcanoes' supporters?
Thank you for your continued and passionate support! I hope we do the people and this great country proud.
Want to know more about Mat? Send him a message on Twitter -- @matbellenie
Support the Volcanoes at their home games on May 4 and 18 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium! Tickets at P 50.00 & P 200.00 available via Ticketworld.com.ph
Special thanks to Globe Telecom for making this feature possible.
Article by: Yugel Losorata
Photos by: Mark Cristino
(For best results, click on the Fullscreen option below & zoom in to read the article)
was recently named Captain of the Lady Volcanoes 15s squad set to compete in the Women's Asian 4 Nations Division 2 Championships. Let's get to know her better :-)
1. When did you start playing Rugby?
I started playing Rugby my first year of college. I played American Football on the boys team in high school and thought Rugby would be fun since at least I would be playing on a team with other girls.
2. What do you enjoy about the game?
I really enjoy the team cameraderie and of course the contact aspect of the game. I can't really explain why it's fun to tackle people, but it is! It's also so rewarding to know when everyone is doing their part and it pays off when our team scores a try.
3. What are the challenges for girls who play the sport?
I think the challenges for girls is getting over what other people might think of you if you play a rough sport. I struggled a lot when I was younger trying to discover if I was a tomboy or a girly girl. Now I know that it's ok to be both and sometimes you can see me sporting really girly nail polish on the field. It's my way to bringing balance to both sides of my personality and I am really comfortable with myself in that aspect now.
4. Do you think Pinays can excel in the sport and compete with the best in Asia?
The Volcano Men's Team is already proving that by their most recent achievements - the Women's program is just a few years behind in terms of growth so I think it's absolutely possible to excel, compete, and win with the best.
5. How did it feel when you were chosen to be Captan of the team?
I was honestly 100% shocked to learn I was chosen as Captain. I had taken a long leave from Rugby after sustaining an injury in college rugby and almost considered not even going to Rugby 101 practice when I first arrived here because I wasn't sure I would be an asset to the team. I was really happy to just contribute to the team and help out where I could, so I'm really very graetful and humbled to be captain of our team.
6. Tell us something about your training schedule.
There are different aspects to my training. Since we are preparing for tournament next week, most of my training is strength endurance and speed endurance in addition to Rugby practice and games. After the tournament, I'll be focusing on increasing my overall speed to prepare for 7's in August and then once 7's season is complete, I'll switch into strength building mode during off season to get stronger for next year.
My diet is also dependent on my training requirements but overall, I eat a diet that includes lots of vegetables, clean proteins like chicken breast and fish and complex carbohydrates like oatmeal and mueseli. If I'm in a gym, I work out my body using various weight lifting exercises but my favorites are squats and lat pull downs. If I'm not in a gym, I focus on doing plyometrics and body weight exercises.
7. Outside of Rugby, what occupies your time?
I have a 2 yr. old daughter who is literally my world outside of rugby. She takes up most of my off time except when I'm helping my brother to diversify and invest in business. Howevever, I'm also a swing dance enthusiast and am starting to teach swing dance in Pasig after tournament.
8. How does your family support your passion for Rugby?
My family has always been supportive of my decision to be in sports - I've been playing sports since I was a toddler. When I was in the US, my mom would go to as many games as she could and now that I'm here, it's my brother who tries to make it to my games.
9. What's the best thing about being part of the Philippine Volcanoes?
The best thing about being part of the Philippine Volcanoes is the friendships I've made and the great people I've met. When I first came here to the Philippines, I didn't know anyone so coming out to Rugby 101 was a great way to join a great community of people that are always welcoming new players. My favorite memory so far is probably when we went island hopping with the Cebu girls team when we played Manila vs. Cebu. It's always so great to be able to play hard on AND off the field and all be friends after a game regardless of who wins.
10.What advice would you give to girls who are curious about the sport but are hesitant to try it?
Rugby is a fairly easy sport to learn. If you have basic coordination and can run, you can play Rugby. If you are worried about what people might think, don't be - the spice of life is trying new things and meeting new people. New players are always welcomed with open arms and we enjoy helping new players learn because you could be the next Lady Volcano in the making.
11. What's your message to your teammates?
Ladies - I'm so thankful and honored to be playing alongside fellow pinays and representing our country so proudly. We know that we've got some hard work in front of us but I know that we have the drive and attitude to continue improving and developing as individual players and as a team. Let's go out next week and be the best team we can be. Let's go UP - AS ONE!
12. What's your message for the Volcanoes' supporters?
Maraming maraming salamat po to all all our supporters - to our sponsors at JML and all the spectators and fans who help spread the good word about rugby. Without you, this sport wouldn't be developing with the level of players that are continuing to raise the benchmark of what is good rugby in this country. On behalf of all the lady Volcanoes, we will continue to work hard to make sure this is a team the Philippines can be proud to support. We look forward to seeing you at our next game!
The Lady Volcanoes are competing in the Women's 4 Nations Division 2 Championships on June 14 and 16 at the Eagles' Field, Southern Plains, Silangan, Laguna.
Thanks to everyone for your support and
Congratulations to Japan for winning the Cup at the Borneo Sevens 2011!!!
"The Philippines were very fit and very physical..." --Takayuki Yamauchi, Japan Captain
What a gracious bunch of guys. This is one of the things that we love about Rugby -- you try to slay each other
on the pitch, and then you party together afterwards :-)
A bit of trivia: Did you know that the Japan (and Hong Kong) players all wore GPS (Global Positioning System)
devices under their uniforms? The device tracks their movements on the pitch, then the data is downloaded
and used for post-match analysis :-O
Here are some photos from the pitch. More soon...