By GABRIEL LAHOC
THE National Coca-Cola Super 5s rugby union tournament, which was scheduled for last weekend, has been deferred to June.
The five-week tournament will feature top rugby players from the four regions, including Consap PNG Pukpuks U20 side, who will be making their debut.
The event was supposed to be part of the U20s preparations to the Junior World Trophy in Moscow, Russia, next month.
Supporters Club Rugby Union Morobe development officer, Robin Tarere, who is part of the Super 5s organising committee, and, currently coaching the Lae-based junior players, said the deferral was due to Northern Reds and Highlanders left without sponsors.
The two regional teams will now have sufficient time to make necessary arrangements to secure sponsors for their sides.
Northern Reds, Highlanders, New Guinea Islanders and Southern Traders had previously played under the Super 4s format, and the change to Super 5s was due to the inclusion of the junior Pukpuks, who have two training programmes in Lae and Port Moresby.
“The training for the juniors has been progressing well,” Tarare, who is confident of their exposure to the much bulkier and experienced sides in the Super 5s challenge, said.
“We are expecting the challenge as many of the boys have been exposed to premier division matches in the local competitions we need the challenges before Moscow,” he said.
The PNG Pukpuks U20 joint training will now take place after the team arrives from Russia “to put them together as a team”.
Currently, Lae dominates the team with 12 players, Port Moresby 10 and Rabaul one while two players will be joining the side from Brisbane, Australia.
From the Coca-Cola Super 5s, the team will attend the Junior World Trophy in Moscow.
Teams from across Europe, Africa, Asia, America and Oceania, are expected to participate.