The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013
THE Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) needs to build its young Pukpuks team.
Following the disappointing 39-31 loss to Cook Islands on Saturday, national coach Allan Manning says the job now is to build on them.
Manning said: “I am extremely proud of the way our young side started against the Cook Islanders. We had two slow starts against the Solomon’s and Tahiti and knew we had to start well and the Pukpuks responded to that.”
“We should be proud of our players who played against a Cook Islands team consisting of professional players who are contracted for Irish teams such as Leinster and also playing in top grades in Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand,” he said.
“The entire forward pack should be proud of the way they stuck it to the Cook Islands scrum and line-out.
“There is no doubt that the Cooks believed they were the dominant pack and looked to bully us through their set piece, however, they were shocked to see how we had stepped up,” he added.
“Yes, the team is extremely gutted for not winning, but as a coach I am extremely proud of the way the Pukpuks played.
“They never gave up, we had 13 men on the field with two players sent off and we pushed until the final whistle blew, pressuring their line and nearly taking victory away from them,” Manning said.
The Pukpuks had a lot of heart and passion for the jersey and with an average age of only around 23 they all had a huge future in the jersey.
“I would like to see most of these players put into programmes overseas as they will be the foundations we build on for the future IRB World 7s campaigns as well as the next world cup campaign which needs to start now, he said.
“We need to continue to build with our programmes within the country and abroad and should not let this result phase our development,” he said.
The only way forward at the moment is to embrace the young side and move with them in a positive manner.
“I can honestly say I am extremely proud to have coached this side. These players have the potential to be contracted into sides overseas.”