Port Moresby’s Governor, Powes Parkop, held a reception for the visiting Lions team at APEC House yesterday. The Lions, the PNG LNG Kumuls and the Oil Search PNG Orchids were in attendance.
who were welcomed by the country’s Prime Minister, James Marape, Governor Parkop, and other dignitaries.
The Lions and Kumuls team were greeted at the entrance by PNGRFL CEO, Reatau Rau, PNG Sports Foundation CEO, Peter Tsiamalili and RLIF Southern Hemisphere General Manager, Jeremy Edwards. The program began with Governor Powes Parkop officially welcoming the Lions team to Port Moresby. He said, the climate is not what they are used to, but hoped they would enjoy their stay in the nation’s capital.
“So it’s a great honor for us as a capital city to be hosting this test. I want to put your minds at ease, first and foremost, Papua New Guineans love rugby league, so you’re in good company.”
RLIF Southern Hemisphere General Manager Jeremy Edwards, spoke of the hard work put into organising the tour over the past year and thanked all who have supported it.
“They said we were crazy to do this, they said we were silly to try and attempt what we’ve done, but we’ve done it and I would like to acknowledge the chairman (Sandis Tsaka) at the moment and his team for his support and friendship that I’ve built up with this guys over the years so Sandis thank you and your team for all the effort you’ve done.”
British High Commissioner to Papua New GUinea, Keith Scott, was excited to have the Great Britain team visit PNG. The Lions’ tour gives the country a window to showcase PNG’s culture and love for rugby to other countries with the game to be shown on BBC in the United Kingdom.
“I want to thank both teams for coming to Papua New Guinea, you didn’t have to come here, there are many other countries in the world you could have chosen to tour, but you chose to come here and I think that’s a great credit to you.”
He added, “Social media feed for example and the way that’s been picked up back in the UK is huge, it’s a great advert for Papua New Guinea, for all the right reasons, and this will be amplified again on Saturday, the Great Britain game is free to air on BBC TV in the UK.”
Apart from the match on Saturday, PNG Prime Minister, James Marape, told the visiting team, that this will be an experience they will never forget, and he hopes they will learn about PNG rugby league and the culture.
“At the end of that event on Saturday I’m sure rugby league would have won, in which you would go away richer, better, fuller knowing what PNG rugby league is all about but more importantly what Papua New Guinea is all about.”
Great Britain Captain, James Graham, did not have much to say but is looking forward to the game on Saturday.
“From the Great Britain Rugby league, thank you for hosting us in Port Moresby and in your country, and it truly is an honour to be here and we can’t wait for the game on the weekend.”
By Elijah Lavett – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby