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Wednesday, May 22, 2019
DAVAO

Fil-British athlete to play for Philippines again

UPBEAT. Filipino-British James Halasan Ryan is excited about playing for the Philippines U19 Junior Volcanoes team again in December. (Fe Halasan Ryan)

UNITED Kingdom (UK)-based Filipino-British James Halasan Ryan has been called anew to play for the Philippines U19 Junior Volcanoes when it competes in the 2018 Asia Rugby U19 Championships slated in December in Bangkok, Thailand.

The 18-year-old Ryan received an invitation letter from Philippine Rugby Football Union, Inc. general manager Jake Letts last October 11.

His mother Fe, a Dabawenya nurse, told SunStar Davao via Facebook that her only child will arrive in Davao City on December 2 then fly back to Manila with his cousin Rjay on December 7 to train with the Junior Volcanoes team.

Ryan, who will play rugby for Team Philippines for the fifth time, will return to Davao City after his Bangkok stint to celebrate Christmas with his relatives.

He is an active Dudley Kingswinford Rugby Football Club member in UK.

"I have been very happy with both my personal form and that of my team. I have found the combination of my strength and speed has given me the advantage over bigger but slower opponents, I will almost always gain ground when I run with the ball which keeps the team moving forward," said Ryan who is still adjusting in the hooker position.

He had steered DKRFC team to win seven out of eight games so far this season.

The only problem with playing hooker, according to him, "is you are less likely to score tries and I have only scored twice this season".

Playing and training for the position improved his fitness since pre-season when he lost five kilograms while increasing his muscle mass.

Ryan, whose father is British scientist Edward, added, "I look a completely different body shape from last year despite no real change in weight. I am excited about the upcoming tournament as it will make up for the disappointment of the injury that stopped me playing in the last tournament. I am hoping to impress in my new position as the PRFU coach had suggested my best position for the team would be in the front row."

He said that he will have at most only a couple of more opportunities to impress at age group rugby before he pushes for selection in the senior national team.

However, he said that rugby is a little different for him this year in the UK where he is playing in seniors category against players of all ages, with greater experience and physically bigger.

Ryan, a blackbelt, also played judo and wrestling in past Batang Pinoy regional and national championships, winning gold medals and silvers.


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