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RLWC Preview: Papua New Guinea vs. Ireland

Dan Talintyre

PNG v IRE

Papua New Guinea will look to build off their phenomenal performance in the opening round when they take on the Irish this Sunday in Port Moresby.

With a vocal home crowd behind them, Michael Marum’s side came out of the blocks firing in their tournament opener — blowing Wales away with an emphatic 50-6 victory that left their opponents feeling as sore physically as they did mentally by the result.

They’ll come up against an Ireland outfit that surprised many in their first game of the World Cup, stunning a highly-rated Italian side 36-12 to stay level on points with PNG.

What was perhaps most impressive from Ireland was the way they adjusted to the hot and humid conditions in Cairns — a crucial thing given they’ll likely endure similar circumstances this Sunday in Port Moresby.

With all three group games at home, most expected Papua New Guinea to simply walk through to the knockout rounds, but this fixture as Ireland shapes as an intriguing contest; both are level on points and Ireland will be full of confidence from defeating Italy. If they can match the intensity of the home side (and crowd) in the opening 10 minutes and not let the game get out of hand, you never know what might happen.
 

Pool C: Papua New Guinea vs. Ireland

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Sunday, November 5, 2017

Time — 5:00pm AEDT

Venue — National Football Stadium, Port Moresby, PNG

 

LIVE STREAM AND TV INFORMATION

Live Stream — Channel 7’s https://7live.com.au/ (Australia only)

TV — Click here for a full country-by-country list of TV broadcasts.

 

TEAM NEWS

Papua New Guinea

 

Ireland

David Mead (capt.)

1

Scott Grix

Justin Olam

2

Shannon McDonnell

Kato Ottio

3

Ed Chamberlain

Nene Macdonald

4

Michael Morgan

Garry Lo

5

Liam Kay

Ase Boas

6

Api Pewhairangi

Watson Boas

7

Liam Finn (capt.)

Stanton Albert

8

Brad Singleton

Kurt Baptiste

9

Michael McIllorum

Luke Page

10

Kyle Amor

Rhyse Martin

11

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook

Willie Minoga

12

Olivier Roberts

Paul Aiton

13

George King

James Segeyaro

14

Tyrone McCarthy

Wellington Albert

15

James Hasson

Stargroth Amean

16

Joe Philbin

Enock Maki

17

Anthony Mullaly

Reserves (PNG) — Moses Meninga, Lachlan Lam, Nixon Putt, Wartovo Puara

Reserves (WAL) — Will Hope, Joe Keyes, Matty Hadden, Jack Higginson

 

RLWC STANDINGS — POOL C

 

Played

Won

Lost

F/A

Points

Papua New Guinea

1

1

0

+44

2

Ireland

1

1

0

+24

2

Wales

1

0

1

-44

0

 

HISTORY

Ireland and Papua New Guinea have never squared off in an international fixture before, and the Irish will be in for a tough time trying to take down the Kumuls on home soil. Papua New Guinea have not lost a Test match on home soil since 2001 (vs. Australia).

 

PLAYER TO FOLLOW — Rhyse Martin, Papua New Guinea

Captain David Mead stole the show early for PNG with a hat-trick, but the performances of Bulldogs forward Rhyse Martin out wide were equally as dynamic late in the contest. Martin played the full 80 minutes in hot conditions, had two tries, two linebreaks and a try-assist, while also adding five goals once he was handed the goal-kicking duties. Ireland’s left edge could be in for a long day trying to contain Martin close to the line.

 

PREDICTION

We thought Ireland were better than many were giving them credit for heading in to their clash against Italy, despite not at all expecting them to go on with the win. That result will have done the world of good for their confidence and morale heading in to this game, but PNG at home are simply a different beast. The hard-hitting defence will stifle the Irish attack, and they won’t be able to defend all afternoon in the heat — we’re tipping a tight one to open up in the second half in favour of the home side. PNG by 22.

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