The third edition of the Philippines National Rugby League premier competition, the Estepa-Elefante Cup, kicks off this Sunday at the Clark Parade Grounds in Angeles City.
The 2019 iteration is set to feature four teams including the Manila Storm, the North Luzon Hunters, the Cavite State University Tigers and round one hosts, the Clark Jets.
Opening the competition will be the battle between the last two competition winners, the North Luzon Hunters and Cavite State University Tigers.
The North Luzon Hunters won the inaugural Estepa-Elefante Cup in 2017, defeating the Manila Storm 30 – 20 in the inaugural Grand Final held in Manila in a full 13-a-side round robin competition held in the South-East Asian nation.
The Cavite Tigers title came from defeating the Manila Storm 12 – 6 in the Philippines Nines competition held in 2018 which ran over two consecutive weekends.
The second match will see Philippines first club, the Manila Storm, take on competition newcomers, the Clark Jets. The Manila Storm took part in the first ever match held on Philippines soil when they hosted the Hong Kong Thunder back in 2015 and have played an instrumental part in the continued growth of the code throughout the nation.
One of the powerhouse clubs historically, the Manila Storm will be hoping for 2019 being a case of ‘third time lucky’ as they chase their inaugural title.
Their opponents, the Clark Jets, will be made up predominately of players from the local orphanages in Angeles City around the Clark area.
The two matches will be part of a festival of Rugby League held at the Parade Grounds this Sunday which will kick off at 10am and run until 6:00pm and will also feature coaching clinics for the street orphans of Angeles and the Indigenous children of the Aetas Village, plus a historic Women’s Rugby League exhibition match.