The National, Thursday March 13th, 2014
By JOHN PANGKATANA
PAPUA New Guinea Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) national selectors will have their hands full identifying players at this weekend’s National Provincial Championships (NPC) sevens at the Monier Bava Park in Port Moresby.
After poor performances over the past three years, coaches coming and going on top of being removed from the International Rugby Board (IRB) world sevens series circuit, the PNG Sevens team needs a breakthrough.
The NPC has drawn the best with favourites Kimbe Rebels sure to have speed merchants Henry Liliket and Albert Levi Junior in the mix, while Morobe Hammerheads’ Butler Morris and Jackson Pato, Black Orchids Hubert Tsereha, Eric Kaiat and Sam Afaifa, Madang Mad Gauns’ Dondon Kais, Rabual’s Eugene Tokavai and Kavieng’s Murou Rebon some of the stars on show.
With the PNG sevens team invited to play in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 to August 3, national selectors will be using this tournament to finalise a squad and identify talent for future tournaments.
The PNGRFU is expected to announce the appointment of a new coach, this time a long overdue appointment of the PNG candidate.
This is deemed to be a breath of fresh air and confidence that a coach that knows the talent first hand is finally being considered.
PNGRFU officer Sailosi Druma confirmed that the new coach would be officially announced next week.
“A squad will be named following this weekend’s 16-team tournament that has attracted 13 centres.
“This would be one of the biggest PNGRFU-staged tournaments for a while,” Druma said.
The 13 centres are Kimbe, Popondetta, Lae, Daru, Madang, Buka, Kavieng, Goroka, Mendi, Kerema, Rabaul, Aroma and hosts Port Moresby.
“Port Moresby again will witness another entertaining weekend of action after the successful Brothers 40th Anniversary Invitational Sevens last.”
“All the best players in the country will be here on show,” he added.
The Rebels may be warm favourites after winning the Brothers Invitational Sevens title, but the Hammerheads, Black Orchids and Daru Stingrays have shown that they can be considered real contenders as well.
The arrival of the Mad Gauns, the Kaias of Rabaul and Drongos from Kavieng will ensure the cup contest is not a one-horse race.
Druma confirmed that there would be no prize-money.