by Lorraine Genia – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
The Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships is considered big for the PNG Pukpuks, as it will act as both a qualifier to the HSBC Wellington Sevens, the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
While some may debate the decision of introducing a new playing group, National Coaching Director for PNG Rugby, Sydney Wesley, believes they are the next lot to fulfil national duties.
While overseeing the entire coaching program for PNG Rugby, Wesley will also be travelling to Auckland with the Palais.
Kymlie Rapilla who has been in poor form, and injury prone over the past year was not selected in the final twelve for the Oceania Championships.
Pacific Games Gold Medallist boxer, Debbie Kaore, makes her return to Rugby Sevens, and Touch Rugby’s Joylyn Tikot featuring as well.
With dramatic changes made to the core squad, the Palais aren’t the only ones making changes.
Douglas Guise who has stepped in as the interim coach of the PNG Pukpuks, says for him, this trip will be about introducing change and a new culture to the national squad.
“For me, it’s about getting the little things right. I want to get the process right, all the way from the bottom, and that includes the boys discipline and attitude off the field as well,” said Guise.
Hensley Peter and Wesley Vali will return to the side after minor injuries, while Koroseta Veni has again been named to represent Papua New Guinea.
The Pukpuks have been placed in Pool B and will be up against Solomon Islands, and a solid American Samoa and Samoan outfit, while the Palais will be playing round robin matches.
Both teams depart for Auckland on Tuesday for the Championships next weekend.