THE Tabubil Cats Rugby Union club is on the verge of sending a team to the Gold Coast for the Palm Beach 10s on Feb 20-21.
The team has been working overtime since October last year raising money and getting support from local business and supporters in Tabubil, Port Moresby and Australia in order to get a squad of 20 down this weekend.
The medical clearances, passports and visas have all had to be arranged and the club and its keen band of helpers have almost managed to pull it all together.
Major sponsorship from Downer EMI, TKI Manpower, JTA International and PMMI has enabled the team to purchase uniforms and boots while Trukai has come on board with training shirts and accessories.
The Australian Rugby Union has given permission and the visas are being processed, while the team are awaiting confirmation from an airline sponsor for support and it will be “game on.” The Palm Beach 10s takes place over two days on the southern Gold coast with 20 teams playing a 10 a side format of rugby involving teams from Sydney, Brisbane, Gold coast, Fiji, NZ and now PNG.
Cats spokesman Nathan Turner said the tournament was another chance for PNG players learn more about the sport and enjoy the experience as well, “It’s an exciting brand of rugby with all the speed and skills of sevens along with the added bonus of a couple of the bigger lads up front expanding the bang and crash effect seen in the more traditional 15 a side game.”
The team is hoping to capitalise on the crowd support that was shown to the recent PNG Defence women’s side at the Byron Bay Sevens last year where a good turn out of expat Papua New Guineans and ex-PNG residents came out to support the teams.
“This support will take the team to the next level and hopefully the Cats can really impress the southern name teams with the PNG heart and soul,” he added.
The team needs to secure their airfares and if any business are willing to assist you may contact Cats RFUC on [email protected] to pledge support.
“All the work that has been put in is entirely voluntary and it’s great to see that a small group can accomplish such great things as this the first in what is hoped to be an annual tour get off the ground.”