Cassowaries remain upbeat


THE national women’s rugby 15s team remain upbeat as players are encouraged to do their own training during the nationwide State of Emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic, says an official.
Cassowaries coach John Pangkatana said the 25-man squad, who took part in a test match against Tonga in February, were expected to maintain their fitness while practising healthy habits.
“The women know what we expect of them during the lockdown,” he said of the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Banking Group-sponsored side.
“They know how high we’ve set the bar and the expectations that come with that commitment.
“The players are encouraged to do their own training until such time when normalcy is restored.
“We have several players in Kundiawa and Goroka. They are part of the overall squad and will be advised on appropriate testing (for our high-performance training programme) to be conducted as part of creating opportunities for players from outside centres.
“Since Willie Rikis (assistant coach) and I took charge of the women three years ago, none of the players have undergone high-performance training, except for those who had stints with the Papua New Guinea Palais (sevens).”
Pangkatana said the squad were aiming to be more consistent by the end of the year.
He said it would allow the Cassowaries to provide stronger competition for the bigger Fijian, Samoan and Tongan sides.
Meanwhile, Pangkatana praised the continued support of ANZ PNG chief executive Mark Baker for helping restore a promising outlook for women’s rugby 15s in the country.

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