Russia down Pukpuks


THE Papua New Guinea Pukpuks lost their second match of the Cup of Nations rugby tournament in Hong Kong, going down to defending champions Russia 49-19 at King’s Park on Monday.
In the opening fixture of the tournament, the Pukpuks were well beaten by Hong Kong 51-5 on Friday, with captain and centre Tisa Kautu the lone try-scorer for PNG.
The hosts, who are hoping to avenge their 31-12 loss to Russia in last year’s final, took a step closer to that goal with a 34-11 hosing down of Zimbabwe. Their second bonus-point win in as many matches sent the hosts into Saturday’s final at the Hong Kong Football Club.
After a 19-15 win over Zimbabwe on Friday, Russia recorded a comprehensive seven-try win over PNG.
Russia captain and flanker Viktor Gresev proved an unstoppable force, scoring a hat-trick to add to the brace he collected against Zimbabwe.
Pukpuks flyhalf Richard Aitsi and forward Johhny Ephraim scored tries while Aitsi kicked three penalties.
In the Hong Kong-Zimbabwe clash, Thomas Lamboley capped his Hong Kong debut with a try, while fullback Alex McQueen grabbed a brace and Ben Rimene was perfect with his boot.
“It was really good to get the win,” HK captain Nick Hewson said.
“We can go into the game against Russia with a bit of confidence, but we know it is another step up. But we are well ahead of where we were last year.”
Hong Kong, who thrashed PNG in their opener, top the table with 10 points. Russia are second on nine, followed by Zimbabwe with one.
PNG face Zimbabwe in their final match of the tournament on Saturday.
Standings: Hong Kong 10, Russia 9, Zimbabwe 1, PNG 0.

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