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How does a Filipino feels about playing Rugby League?

Val Cabigting

With just over a fortnight to go before the Rugby League International 9s on October 19 and the Asian Cup on October 21 at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) in San Narciso, Zambales, we can rightfully ask how does a Filipino feel about and talk about the  Rugby code experience.

Mr Val Cabigting for one belongs to the new generations of Rugby players in the Philippines, having picked up the game in the last couple of years and playing for one of the newest Rugby clubs the Globe Immortals RUFC, and ironically saying that Philippines National Rugby League (PNRL), PAL Tamaraws Captain, Luke Srama as his “Rugby Hero” and inspiration.

In an interview, Mr Cabigting showed us an insight into the game and how it is being accepted by Filipinos who had found kinship with the ball game{

1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? (eg where were you born, how old are you, who do you work for etc etc)

Cabigting –  I was born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I moved to Philippines when I was 16 years old for college. I’m 24 years old now. I work as a freelance music teacher, also actively participating in Rugby union and development with my team.

2) When did you start playing Rugby Union, who did you play for and who do you currently play for?

Cabigting – I started Rugby Union on July 2011, I used to play with the Raging Bison, one of the development groups of the PRFU. I currently play for the Globe Immortals.

3) How did you find out about Rugby League and when did you start getting involved?

Cabigting – I was always curious about Rugby League ever since I started Union. When I heard PNRL is starting free clinics at Don Bosco, I never hesitated and went a couple of times despite the distance from my place. That was last year around August to October where I also met the Philippine Tamaraws.

4) What do you think of Rugby League compared to Union?

Cabigting –  Both sports have similar skill sets required to be able to play well. The most significant thing I noticed is the scrum of both sports is different. Rugby League is a simpler game. Very few technical rules and we get to play with the ball more.

5) How do you feel about playing your first Rugby League game in 2 weeks with the Clark City Crusaders?

Cabigting – Mixed Emotions! As this is my first time playing Rugby League, also will be playing with my Fil-Aussie brothers who have been playing the sport for a while and I never met any of them yet. This should be fun. I can’t wait!

6) What are your thoughts on the Rugby League Asian Cup being played in the Philippines this year and what do you think its impact will be on the game in the Philippines?

CabigtingI-  think it’s a great moment for the Philippine Tamaraws to be playing in their own country! It will provide them the motivation and extra push! I also think it’s good for Rugby League Development and will engage the locals to learn more about the sport.