By KEITH PUARIA
THE Highlanders Super 5 rugby union squad was yesterday finalised, a little over a month ahead the March 31 regional challenge with two Madang players included.
Boosting experience and youth with an aim to better performances from the previous two tournaments, the side has come together early this time around, with the intention of winning the event.
The 24-man squad features former and current PNG Pukpuks and sevens players in Moses Koko, Umba Ben, Macman Luke, Chris Hogi, Richard Mark and Yaisuho Giheno.
Head coach Moses Iko stressed that the focal point of his team would be his forwards.
He was confident that his pack had the experience and would be a destructive force on any given day.
Iko noted the inclusion of 21- year-old Chris Lai, who caught the selectors attention during his performance in the local competition and the recent Morobe 7s in Lae.
“The young lad (Lai) has proven himself in the trials and will be a bonus to the team,” Iko said from Goroka.
The bulk of the team comprising mainly Goroka players, now see added fire with the inclusion of Madang imports Tui Fuitio and Matagal Tamilong, picked from late last year’s Goroka/Madang trials.
A surprise inclusion was the announcement of Paul Joseph as assistant coach.
Joseph has been given the task of managing players based outside of the Highlands region.
These players will meet up with the rest of the squad in Goroka a week prior to travel.
Goroka rugby union (GRUB) president Richard Mark also noted that there was currently no major sponsor for the team, and appealed to interested or potential sponsors to come to their aid.
The team manager’s position is vacant and interested candidates should forward their application to the GRUB.
Contact address: [email protected] or phone: 7167 5195
The Highlanders Super 5 team: Moses Koko, Umba Ben, Macman Luke (Hagen), Andrew Mark, Ian Robin, Yaisuho Giheno, Jeremy Gosawoh, Tui Fuitio (Madang), Philip Maino, Solomon Joseph, Richard Mark, Chris Hogi, Henry Maino, Danny Fa’e, Richard Nake, Faith Kennedy, Steven Bal, Linden Frazer, Danny Patrick, Chris Lai, Matagal Tamilong (Madang), Desmond Tete, Danny Kanasa, Fred Tom.