The 2016 Export Rugby Championships have set competition dates for July 23-31 with finals scheduled for Saturday, August 13 in the nation’s capital.
Tournament teams are made up of affiliated member unions and have been placed into three conferences – the Southern Conference, Northern and New Guinea Islands (NGI) Conference.
Port Moresby will host the Southern Conference, under the wing of the PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU), while the East New Britain Rugby Football Union hosts the NGI leg, in Kokopo, and Lae with the Northern Conference matches.
“We’ve confirmed all the participating teams. All hosting unions are gearing up for this event, and are very excited for next week’s kick off,” said Sailosi Druma from the PNGRFU.
All teams will play in a four team round robin competition over three rounds within their conferences, with the finals determined by a point system – teams with the highest number of competition points within each conference will earn automatic qualification into the semi finals.
While some provinces are not accustomed to the 15s format, PNGRFU have extended the provincial selection process to players from outside of their respective province.
“The provinces that are not playing 15s, it’s one of the boxes they have to tick and this competition, will hopefully enable them to start playing 15s. We’ve also allowed them (provincial teams) to select outside of their provinces for set positions, especially the tight five,” said Druma.
Game day is set for Saturday, July 23 with the Gaigais taking on the Stingrays in Port Moresby, Hammerheads against Kilituas at SCRUM Oval, and the Rebels against the Drongos in Kokopo at the Kalabond Oval.