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Papua New Guinea will look to get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start this Saturday when they face Wales in front of what’s sure to be a very vocal home crowd — one of three group games that the Kumuls will play in Port Moresby.

After the success of the PNG Hunters in the Intrust Super Cup competition, the home side will look to continue the success of rugby league in the nation now in the World Cup.

A favourable group containing Ireland and Wales bodes well for Michael Marum’s side as they look to top the group and emerge through to the knockout stages of the competition — something which is somewhat expected of the co-host nation.

With all three games at home (and the exciting nature of that home crowd), PNG have a huge advantage over their opponents and it’ll be interesting to note in just the second game of the competition how well the visiting team adjust to Papua New Guinea as a nation — the only country at the World Cup where rugby league is the official sport.

PNG come in to the tournament with good preparation behind them; a solid win over Fiji was followed by a strong showing against Australia, while some of their domestic-based players also performed strongly in the annual Prime Minister’s XIII clash. Throw in the success of the Hunters as well (who won the QLD-stated based competition), and PNG will certainly fancy their chances at continuing their good form now at the World Cup.

It’s shaping as a tough test for John Kear’s Wales here in their opening game, with the Welsh needing to win both of their remaining matches if they fail this Saturday. And given their next fixture against a talented Fiji side in Townsville, that won’t be easy.

Group C: Papua New Guinea vs. Wales


Date — Saturday, October 28, 2017

Time — 4:00pm AEDT

Venue — Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea



Live Stream — Channel 7’s (Australia only)

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



Papua New Guinea — 1. David Mead 2. Justin Olam 3. Kato Ottio 4. Nene Macdonald 5. Garry Lo 6. Ase Boas 7. Watson Boas 8. Stanton Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Luke Page 11. Rhyse Martin 12. Rod Griffin 13. Paul Aiton (Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Willie Minoga 16. James Segeyaro 17. Enock Maki) — Coach: Michael Marum

Reserves: 18. Lachlan Lam 19. Stargoth Amean 20. Wellington Albert 21. Moses Meninga

Wales — 1. Elliot Kear 2. Rhys Williams 3. Michael Channing 4. Andrew Gay 5. Regan Grace 6. Courtney Davis 7. Matt Seamack 8. Craig Kopczak 9. Steve Parry 10. Philip Joseph 11. Rhodri Lloyd 12. Ben Morris 13. Morgan Knowles (Interchange: 14. Matty Fozard 15. Sam Hopkins 16. Ben Evans 17. Chester Butler) — Coach: John Kear

Reserves: 18. Josh Ralph 19. Dalton Grant 20. Christiaan Roets 21. Matthew Barron









Papua New Guinea




















Despite coming in to this match as clear underdogs, the history between the two sides actually gives the Welsh an advantage — winners in both of their previous matches against PNG. When they first met in 1991, it was the home side who emerged with a comprehensive 68-10 victory, before doubling that result with a 50-10 win over Papua New Guinea when they met most recently in the 2007 World Cup in Bridgend (Wales).


PLAYER TO FOLLOW — David Mead, Papua New Guinea

Set to captain the Kumuls once again, David Mead is perhaps the most exciting player in the back-line that contains a number of dangerous attacking options such as Kato Ottio and Nene Macdonald. Mead’s inclusion has kept Stargoth Amean sidelined and named amongst the reserves, and he’ll be keen to lead from the front here at home. The Brisbane Broncos back finished the 2017 season with a number of up-and-down games, but with good speed and vision, his class should shine through here for the home side.



Given how emotional running out to the home crowd will be, it’s almost impossible to see anything but a strong win for the hosts here. And when you consider too how in-form a number of their players are, it should be a pretty simple win too. PNG by 24.

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