By KEITH PUARIA
THE Papua New Guinea Rugby Sevens side will get one opportunity to test and trial their game before the Feb 4-6 “Bulls Run”, at the Wellington leg of the International Rugby Board Sevens Circuit.
Pooled with sevens giants Fiji, and inconsistent sevens performers, Australia and Scotland for the tournament, match preparations will commence with participation at the Jan 22-23 ‘Suva Festival of Sevens’ in Suva, Fiji, ahead of the Westpac Trust Stadium party.
The return of PNG to the circuit will not be a party however, as the side looks to getting back to the mark on the world scale, after so much promise in the lead up campaign towards the end of last year, at the Gold Coast, Sri Lanka, and Tahiti-Pacific Sevens.
A majority of the squad has been retained, making it the most consistent national sevens squad in a long time, in between seasons.
The squad holds promise, under the ongoing guidance of the world’s greatest-ever sevens player to throw on a pair of rugby boots, Waisale Serevi.
The current squad in training is Alex Haija (captain), Monty Diave, Lawrence Kuso, Elizah Riyong, Benjamin Tomben John, Buckley Joseph, Sova Milfred, Tisa Kautu, Karo Kauna, David Eri and speed merchants Albert Levi and Kojo Ware.
Squad members from the outside centres will get in today for a weeklong camp before their flight to Fiji.
The campaign and performance of the national sevens side has been well driven by the support of Mineral Resources Development Corporation through its managing director Augustune Mano.
In the juniors, Port Moresby will finalise its squad after this Saturday’s trial, ahead of the Jan 30 final selection trial of the Junior Pukpuks to Moscow, Russia, for the Junior World Trophy.
The Junior Pukpuks participated in last year’s event in Kenya as well as in the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions Cup in Samoa.
Involved in the Port Moresby trials too, will be handpicked talent from Mendi, Rabaul and Bougainville, who have flown in to stake their claims.