by Lorraine Genia – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby
With two weeks left till kick off here at Port Moresby’s Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, the PNG Rugby Football Union is expected to release the final team list by tomorrow.
The final rounds of trials were held over the weekend in Lae and Port Moresby, with a number of players from outside centres already in the Nation’s Capital.
Although the Port Moresby trials highlighted the lack of consistency with an annual rugby competition; players were out to claim a spot in the nation rugby team, to take on 3 Pacific Island nations at the end of this month for the Oceania Cup.
Wesley Thomas who played in the forwards said after the match, “We need more game time. Currently we haven’t had enough game time since last year, due to the South Pacific Games, that’s why we are a bit rusty.”
However team manager, John Havora, spoke of the trials and the plans the team has to address issues regarding more game time, and structure plays, should the Pukpuks reclaim the title as Oceania Champions.
“What we have is a mix of youth and experience. The experience and weight from the forward pack will improve the team with the scrums,” said Havora.
Havora also confirmed the inclusion of Brisbane based players.
“We have Nigel Genia, Rabbie Namaliu Jnr and Richard Aitsi, that’s the contribution from Brisbane.”
Namaliu who would resume a leadership role as one of the seniors in the team, says the team’s focus will be on the combinations and dimensions of the different players, and the structures which will become vital for the team’s performance.
“It’s about getting used to the tempo of the game and different structures different teams play.”
The team for the Oceania Cup will be finalised in the next two days, with the boys heading into camp two weeks before the tournament on the 22nd of August.