Chapman: We are fitter now

Normal, Sports

The National, Tuesday July 2nd, 2013


SOLOMON Islands rugby union skipper Corey Chapman says he will lead a bigger and fitter side against the Monier Pukpuks in their first Oceania Cup match on Saturday at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.

Chapman, a former Port Moresby In­ternational School student who was brought up in Papua New Guinea, said he was excited to be back in the capital city.

Finishing second to the Pukpuks in 2011, his Hunters return with a stronger side.

“We are looking forward to our first clash against hosts PNG and we know they will come out strong,” he said. 

“This year we have come with a bigger and fitter side. 

“Our team includes a couple of new players, lot of young guys and we hope to make use of them.”

Hunters coach Philip Campbell said his players would take one game at a time.

“Our focus this week is our game against PNG,” he said. 

“We are ready to face the home-crowd favourites. After 2011, we took some serious steps in improving the team in a few areas and we hope to execute well this Saturday,” Campbell said.

“This tournament is a big one and we are aware that the other teams will be strong.” 

The winner of the tournament will go on to play Fiji next year in a 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifier.

PNG Rugby Football Union general ma­nager Simon Kerr told the media the tournament would be very physical.

The Pukpuks will face a tough time defending the FORU Cup against the Hunters, Tahiti and the Cook Islands.

“Returning from their recent training camp on the Gold Coast, Australia, coach Alan Manning has done intense work in preparation for the tournament. They have been in training camp for the past week and are set for their first game,” Kerr said.

Tahiti arrives today, while the Cook Islands touch down in Port Moresby tomorrow. 

The Pukpuks will take on the Solomon Islands following the Tahiti-Cook Is­lands game on Saturday.