International Rugby Honors | Alumni Rafael Phillips

Former student Rafael Phillips has gone from strength to strength since graduating from Marlborough College Malaysia. For Rafael, the journey has been nothing short of remarkable. Starting as a novice at Marlborough in 2012, he navigated his way through the rugby world, representing Marlborough, Hartpury University, and eventually going on to play for the Philippine national team.

In 2012, Rafael joined Marlborough as one of the founding pupils, Aged 11, he made his rugby debut after an introduction to the thrilling world of rugby. It was here that Rafael would pick up that oval-shaped ball and truly begin his rugby adventure, which would eventually become an integral part of his life.

His passion for rugby grew as Rafael continued to play throughout his time at Marlborough, representing both the U16 and U18 teams. Participating in various tournaments, not only locally but also in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, honed Rafael’s skills and ignited an ambition to play the sport at the highest level.

After his time at Marlborough, the logical next step was to take the rugby journey to university. In 2019, Rafael enrolled at Hartpury University in the UK, pursuing a degree in Sports Business Management while chasing the rugby dream. Through challenges and setbacks, such as the disruptive force of COVID-19, Rafael persisted in his quest to excel in the sport.
During the summer of 2022, Rafael found himself playing 7s rugby for a mixed Filipino Social team at the Harpenden 7s tournament. Unexpectedly, this event led to a life-changing opportunity—to represent the Philippine national rugby team. Despite the timing being less than ideal, having just graduated and searching for employment, Rafael seized the chance to play international rugby.

The dedication paid off as he made it onto the Philippine national team for the 2022 Asia Rugby 7s series. Over three tournaments, Rafael proudly donned the national jersey, making his debut in Thailand, securing a bronze medal, and achieving a historic victory against Japan in South Korea. Finishing up the tour in UAE, these accomplishments propelled the Philippine team to a respectable fifth-place finish in the series.

This year promises exciting challenges, including the Asia Rugby 7s series legs in South Korea and Thailand, the Asia Games in China, and Olympic Qualifiers in Japan. It was particularly fitting that Rafael returned last week to Marlborough College Malaysia, where he generously imparted his wisdom and expertise to our current students during coaching sessions. As 2023 continues to unfold, Rafael eagerly anticipates the next chapter of his rugby adventure.

Rafael as a pupil at Marlborough College Malaysia

Rafael on a more recent visit to Marlborough College this week

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