The National, Friday November 1st, 2013
THE Kumuls face their biggest test on Tuesday morning our time in Hull, England, when they take on Toa Samoa in their second Group B fixture of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
It is a do-or-die match for both sides, more so for Papua New Guinea as they play New Zealand on November 9 and are extremely long odds to come out on top there.
Adrian Lam’s men will rue their one-point capitulation to the French. That was a match that he knows they should have won.
But that is all water under the bridge now and Lam and his staff has been saying throughout this week that they will use the intense emotions from that match to spur them to greater heights.
Make no mistake, that is the only attitude to have going into the Samoa game. It is literally boom or bust for the Kumuls at this World Cup.
They win they will make the quarter-finals as France are unlikely to beat either Samoa or the Kiwis. It may well come down to points differentials for third spot if we manage a win over the big Samoans. There is hope though that a disciplined and composed approach will see us go a long way as Scotland showed against Tonga on Wednesday morning.
PNG beat the Scots 38-20 in a warm-up and they turn around and edge the Tongans 26-24. Tonga is considered to be just as good as Samoa. They beat Samoa comprehensively 36-4 in an international in April with pretty much the same teams on the field. So if there are any parallels there, hopefully the Kumuls can bring their A game to Craven Park and shock the Polynesians to keep their World Cup alive. It will not be easy as the Kumuls will have to lift significantly against an NRL-laden Samoan side gunning for their first win as well. We sincerely hope the Kumuls make the necessary changes (personnel) and adjustments (tactics) to give themselves the best chance of victory.