PNG out to shake up finals

Sports

MELBOURNE: England face an undefeated Papua New Guinea side who venture outside Port Moresby for the first time in this World Cup.
Kumuls coach Michael Marum has kept faith in his halves combination of Boas brothers Ase and Watson as well as thrown the task of containing the English front-row to one test Kumul Moses Meninga and Luke Page.
The Kumuls are confident they have the form to trouble Wayne Bennett’s side who have been solid without impressing.
“We believe that we can do well against England if we do the things we’ve been training to do and keep our composure. It’s all down to the players. We trust Michael’s game plan and his selections and we know that if our boys perform and do what they have to, we will be successful,” Kumuls staff member Marcus Bai said.
Bennett’s side has shown patches of what they are capable of without yet putting in an eighty-minute performance, with victories over France (36-6) and Lebanon (29-10).
The Kumuls come to Melbourne after accounting for Wales, Ireland and the USA by a combined 128-12.
Why England can win: They’ve started well in all three games so far and, apart from their opener Australia, have overcome their opponents through an influx of first-half points. Their defence has also held up against the best – the Kangaroos could only manage three tries — and Bennett will have them primed for a better performance coming into the knockout rounds.
Why PNG can win: The Kumuls are riding the wave of their success in the pool stages. Skipper David Mead has led the way with four tries this tournament and will be keen to add to his tally on Sunday. Many of these players have been together for a long time when you factor in the PNG Hunters’ success in the Queensland Cup and coach Michael Marum has got them playing for each other.
The History: Played 2; England 2; PNG 0. England has had the better of the Kumuls in their two previous clashes, though the Pacific nation went close in the 2008 World Cup where England left it late to win 32-22.
Match officials: Referee: James Child; Touch judges: Mark Craven and Chris Butler; Video referee: Steve Chiddy.
Televised: Channel Seven – live from 3:30pm AEDT.
NRL.com predicts: England’s game management and the class in their spine should be too much for PNG. The Kumuls have been impressive, and they need to keep their error count to a minimum if they are to challenge England. England by 10.  – NRL.com

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