By KEITH PUARIA
THE Papua New Guinea Rugby Union Sevens team returned to the Wellington Sevens on Sunday via Brisbane, with the added strength and knowledge of the support behind them.
“This is good, this is good,” coach Waisale Serevi said, overwhelmed by the support shown at a cocktail gathering hosted by British High Commissioner David Dunn at his residence, Moresby House ,last Thursday night.
“This is what it is about, the people and their support,” he added.
Also present at the event to offer their support, were Deputy Opposition Leader Bart Philemon, United States Ambassador Teddy Taylor, New Zealand High commission representatives, other members of the diplomatic community residing in Port Moresby, representatives of the business community, friends and supporters of rugby in PNG.
Omitted from the Wellington draw since 2008, the team had come through the week’s preparations unscathed, in their mission to stamp their mark on the world stage with the well-deserved opportunity, after a long but hard road.
“The boys will leave on Sunday, with belief in our chance in our pool,” PNGRFU president Richard Sapias told the gathering.
“The boys are confident and are probably better prepared going to this tournament under the world’s best in sevens, Waisale Serevi.
“We are aware of the challenge and that results will not come overnight.
“However, we will work on sustained progress through and after this,” Sapias added.
Commisioner Dunn wished the team the very best of luck.
He also appealed to the business and diplomatic community to jump on and support the team and rugby union.
“The very best of luck, play in the true spirit that rugby is supposed to be played,” he said.
The traveling team: Alex Haija, Monty Diave, Lawrence Kuso, Sova Milfred, Benjamin John, David Eri, Buckley Joseph, Albert Levi Jr, Kojo Ware, Tisa Kautu, Karo Kauna, and Elizah Riyong with Willie Rikis as assistant coach and Malcolm Giheno as manager.
Wellington Sevens opens on Friday followed by the finals set for Saturday Feb 6. PNG is pooled with Australia, Scotland and Fiji.