Philippines' history boys open door to Moscow
The Philippines' recent success in qualifying for next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow has done yet more to shine a light on the global inclusiveness of Rugby Sevens.
The Philippines' men's national side booked their place at the showpiece in Russia on June 28-30 by beating Korea in Singapore to claim Asia's third and final spot.
It is the first time that a Philippines national side in any team sport has qualified for a world championship or World Cup event.
"The impact of this on a country like the Philippines is massive, it's too early to say how big but they've certainly made history and it's very positive for sport in general in Philippines, and also for rugby and a Union that's only been going for six years," said the team's coach Al Caravelli, who until recently was the national team coach of USA.
"Their most celebrated sportsman is boxer Manny Pacquiao, but these players have been well received back in their country with a lot of interviews, great coverage on TV and Radio and in newspapers.
"The players don't just want to turn up and make up the numbers in Moscow. Hopefully we can slip under the radar and surprise a few people because nobody knows much about us.
"They do have the talent but they need the experience. They believe they do have the skill level and the ability to compete on the world stage. They have an amazing work ethic, they're very close, now they just need more time."
Philippines are the 26th individual nation to book their place in Moscow across both the men's and women's events, and that breadth of international appeal will be music to the ears of the tournament organisers, the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR), who have launched ticket sales and are now in the process of appointing Official Travel Agencies (OTAs) around the world.
The first official travel packages for the tournament will go on sale shortly, promising fun-packed trips to the festival of Rugby planned for the Russian capital.
So far there are two OTAs in South Africa, four in the United Kingdom and one each in New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and Spain, and more agencies will be appointed in due course.
OTAs appointed so far are:
-Experience Group (New Zealand)
-TUI Group, which includes Gullivers (UK), Sportsworld (UK), Sport Abroad (UK), Emirates Live (UAE) and Thomson Sport (UK)
-Makro Travel Pty Ltd (South Africa)
-Marabou (South Africa)
-Viajes Diertis (Spain)
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- Oceania 1
- Playoff Winner
- South Africa
- Asia 1
- Americas 2
- New Zealand
- Europe 1
- Africa 1
- Europe 2