Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!
PNRL Rugby in Baler Aurora Philippines

PNRL Rugby in Northern Philippines’ Surfing Capital of Baler

BY REYNALDO NERY November 9, 2019, a day to remember when Rugby League history was made on several occasions in Baler, Aurora Philippines.

Yes, it was a tough day for our Tamaraw team who played their first game on home soil since the 2013 Asia Cup match in San Narciso where they were victorious over Thailand with a team comprising of international heritage players. This time around would see a different setup, the Tamaraws team was made up of wholly domestic (except for two) players from the PNRL domestic competition in the Manila Storm, Nth Luzon Hunters and Cavite Tigers teams.
It was a shaky start for the Tamaraws right from kick off, with a few nervous passes in their 10 they handed ball possession to Japan which set the mood for most of the first half. Japan’s strength on their edge exploited the Tamaraws lack of numbers making for some easy points in the first half. The Tamaraws just couldn’t break the Japanese line enough to get an opportunity to score. The first half ended with Japan scoring 38 unanswered points.
The second half started differently as Japan were held in their 20 with some strong defence from the Tamaraws. A few ball handling errors and missed tackles due to the humidity saw possession handed back to Japan who took advantage of their opportunities.

It wasn’t until the 55th minute that the Tamaraws broke the Japanese defence through Liam Johnston’s powerful run at the halfway line with nothing but Japans full back to beat. With a sweet sidestep Liam got Philippines first points of the day.
This got the crowd fired up as they chanted, “We are Tamaraws, we are Tamaraws”, they seemed to ignore the score board and just wanted to be loud and proud. Unfortunately, the game ended with Japan victorious (74-4) and claiming their right to be the new 2019 Asian Champions.
It was an amazing performance by the Samurai’s who should be proud as the Filipino fans of Baler embraced them with open arms. It’s an experience we hope they will never forget and hope the Samurai’s will be back in Baler soon for their turn to defend the Asia cup.
Never has a Tamaraw National team been assembled purely from domestic home-grown players. The PNRL could not be prouder of these players, the experience they gained from playing a team like Japan will only improve them as players and individuals making Rugby League in the Philippines bigger and stronger.