Then National, Wednesday 12th September, 2012
PAPUA New Guinea Rugby Football Union’s (PNGRFU) national Pukpuk programme (NPP) will begin in earnest this weekend in Lae at the Coca-Cola national 15s championships.
PNGRFU general manager Simon Kerr said the championships would start this Friday and end on Sunday, with teams from the National Capital District, Morobe, West New Britain, Eastern Highlands and Madang contest the provincial title on SCRUM (Supporter’s Club Rugby Union Morobe) oval.
“In line with the PNGRFU strategic aims of becoming a core team on the IRB (International Rugby Board) sevens circuit, gaining entry to the Pacific Nations Cup, qualifying for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy and the continuing success of the national women’s team, the imperative is to identify the talent capable of making this become a reality,” Kerr said.
The programme is the first step in the identifying process of players with the potential to represent PNG at the elite level, and the objective to identify and develop 100 athletes across the Pukpuk 15s, sevens, women’s and Under 19 representative teams.
“Phase one is to identify the talent nationwide. Phase two is to develop it by creating a nurturing environment where we can produce better and more skilful future Pukpuks.”
Teams have been working hard in their preparations and are looking forward to the weekend’s rugby. The lead up time has been deemed ample enough for the sides to prepare for potentially tough competition.
Provinces not involved this weekend will be visited over the coming weeks by the PNGRFU.
These visits will hopefully provide the players in these smaller centres the opportunity to be involved in the NPP in the future.
“PNGRFU is committed to finding and nurturing the best available talent to compete for PNG on the world stage, starting with Oceania Cup in June 2013. With PNG hosting the Pacific Games in 2015 and the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, we need to begin our preparation now.”
The PNGRFU will be providing further details and initiatives around the sevens and women’s rugby programme in the coming weeks.