By ISAAC LIRI
THE Irish Wolfhounds arrived yesterday in Port Moresby ahead of their second rugby league World Cup match against the PNG Kumuls on Sunday.
Welcomed by a traditional Motu Koita dancing group from Vabukori village, Ireland coach Mark Aston and skipper Liam Finn were grateful for the opportunity to play PNG and are ready for the challenge. Coming off a 36-12 win over the Italians last weekend, Aston predicted Sunday’s Pool C fixture would be a significant one for both sides to determine who topped the pool.
“This Sunday will be a massive game for both countries. We were good last week and I know PNG were very good as well,” Aston said.
“I think it’s going to be the game of the round that people are going to be looking at seeing who is going to come out on top.
“We’re going to have to be brave and strong, we know that PNG are going to come out and be tough and physical and try to dominate us but we just have to be smart.
“The weather is going to play a big part in it and they’ll be a lot of people screaming and shouting but we’re going to enjoy it and that’s the important thing for us,” Aston, pictured, said.
Wolfhound’s skipper Liam Finn said the game would be special for him and other players knowing that it would be their first time to play against the Kumuls.
“It’s going to be very special for us to play against PNG for the first time and to come to a country that is so passionate about rugby league,” Finn said.
“We are privilege to come and play over here and we’ll try our best against PNG and we are just going to enjoy this experience.
“We saw PNG beat Wales last week and it’s going to be a big challenge, we watched the game and we were really impressed by the PNG team.
“We know that we can come up with a really good plan to counter the power and the strength of the PNG team. We’ll do our best to prepare for this game and make sure it’s a good game on Sunday.
“We have to come up with a very good plan, we have to use our brains a little bit if we are going to beat this PNG team.
“We are going to be tested but we’re going to have to stand up as well.
“We’ve done well in the tropical weather. It was warm in Cairns last week and we did well but it’s a little bit warmer here in PNG but at least we’ve gotten used to playing in these conditions a little bit,” the 34-year-old said.
Aston has named an unchanged side for Sunday’s match against PNG.
Ireland: 1 Scott Grix, 2 Shannon McDonnell, 3 Ed Chamberlain, 4 Michael Morgan, 5 Liam Kay, 6 Api Pewhairangi, 7 Liam Finn (c), 8 Brad Singleton, 9 Michael McIlorum, 10 Kyle Amor, 11 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 12 Oliver Roberts, 13 George King; Reserves: 14 Tyrone McCarthy, 15 James Hasson, 16 Joe Philbin, 17 Anthony Mullaly.
By ISAAC LIRI