By KEITH PUARIA
AUSTRALIA Rugby Union Queensland-based elite player development (EPD) coach Chris Lane yesterday put his cards down on the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union discussion table, with a keen eye for the role of national coach for the PNG Pukpuks XVs side.
“I am excited about the prospect of possible involvement with PNG Rugby,” Lane said in a first meeting with PNGRFU executives and officials at the Crowne Plaza.
Lane, accompanied by current Australian Wallabies scrum half and Aroma Coast ‘rooted’ Will Genia, presented his case before an equally keen PNGRFU representation.
Straight to the point, Lane highlighted his objectives, with the ultimate goal of guiding the PNG Pukpuks to a probable Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification, and an improved international ranking, his immediate objectives.
Improvement of the playing and coaching standards of local rugby and individual player development were the other two points he raised as priority in his presentation.
Lane received the full backing of Genia, and elder brother, Pukpuk flyhalf Frank, with whom he had worked closely with, in their personal developments from schoolboy to top level rugby in Queensland.
The Genia brothers had accompanied Lane into the country while on holidays, in a show of support for what they believed to be a way forward for rugby in PNG.
“You have got to have a coach who will want to go out and do things, like what Chris has done. With the contacts he has, it will only strengthen the games cause,” Genia said.
“He is already spoken to people in the know, skills, technique etc in the rugby circles, and done his homework on rugby in PNG,” he added.
“If I did not care about the rugby here, I would not have made the effort. I really think the country has potential and Chris brings this challenge.”
PNGRFU president Richard Sapias, who was present along with vice-president Robert Nilkare, expressed his appreciation for Lane’s interest.
“It is timely for Chris as we are in the initial stages of finalising these particulars, we are keen to progress,” Sapias said.
Lane brings to the table years of experience as a coach at various elite levels in Queensland, and as rugby coordinator. With his experience comes the added rank of having worked with, and the personal development of elite players on the ARU programmes.
This responsibility included developing players before they make that next step from club rugby to the Super 14 clubs and then the Wallabies.
Lane’s involvement is now part of the agenda for the PNGRFU executives’ deliberation, before a decision is made.