THE New Guinea Island Rugby Union Bismarck Cup kicks off tomorrow at the Hutjena Ovals in Buka Bougainville, in a historic first for 15s rugby on the Island.
After year-long preparations in the lead-up to the championships, Manus, East and West New Britain and New Ireland provinces will arrive in Buka tomorrow for the four-day event, a challenge for the champion rugby playing province in the region.
The excitement ahead of the championships has built up over the past weeks around NGI, however, it is the anxiety of the hosts that has created a buzz around Buka.
The Bismarck Cup is the region’s annual rugby championship tournament and would be the avenue for selections to the NGI representative Hurricanes side to the National Super 4s championships in Lae, Morobe province.
The regional side has been a force at the national championships the last three years, and chances for selection are sure to drive tough competition over the weekend.
NGI rugby president Peter Tsiamalili Jr told The National that as well as deciding the champion province, and selecting the Hurricanes, the direction now was to expand the game in the region, and break into non-rugby playing areas.
“We want to move the game in the region and bringing this event to Bougainville is part of that direction,” Tsiamalili said.
“This is only the beginning for NGI rugby.
“Coupled with the assistance of our sponsors, we will go hard at the development of our game.”
within and hopefully, slowly encompass the social aspects of rugby in our community”.
Tsiamalili, whilst announcing the tournament, also acknowledged Coca Cola’s K10,000 backing for rugby in the region for the year.
He also thanked Coca Cola for the assistance and ongoing support over the past three years, a running total of K30,000 since 2006.
The president also thanked Nivani for agreeing to come on board as major sponsor to the regional team.