Rugby expert promotes World Cup
MANILA, Philippines — With height hardly a factor, former Irish rugby union superstar Paul Stephen Wallace says his favorite sport is definitely cut out for Filipinos.
“Basketball is a big thing here. But this is a big country of over 80 million, so there’s no reason for rugby not to make it,” said Wallace, who visited the Philippines over the weekend to promote the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England with DHL as logistical partner.
One of the best tight-head prop in his time, the former British & Irish Lion also had a piece of advice for the Philippine Volcanoes, the country’s men’s rugby squad, in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept.19 to Oct.4. “It’s a team sport.
You should always play for your teammates and make them look good,” said Wallace.
“With skill and that mentality, the Volcanoes can win games,” added the 42-year-old rugby pundit for Sky Sports.
Made up mostly of Filipino-foreign players who grew up in Europe, the Volcanoes debuted in the Asian 5 Nations in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens and qualified for the Asian Games.
They’ll be facing again the strongest teams in Asia—Japan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and South Korea—in the Asian 5 Nations meet in April and May prior to the Asiad.
“If you’re training for rugby, you need to be a sprinter who could also run fast in long distances, a wrestler and a weightlifter rolled into one,” said Wallace.
He said the toughest teams in the world are New Zealand, Ireland, England, France, Australia and South Africa.
“Rugby is a very physical sport. But if you learn the techniques correctly, it’s not as dangerous as it looks,” said Wallace, whose worst career injury was a severe ankle sprain that sidelined him for a year.
“It’s a great sport that teaches kids the value of teamwork and later on, important lessons in life,” he added.