The National, Thursday 13th June 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
THE New Ireland rugby union is strengthening its roots again.
This was evident following the successful staging of the Dekenai Kara-Nalik Sevens tournament at Lugagun Beach Oval, over the long weekend.
The tournament saw the emergence of the team from Ngavalus take centre stage to beat Fandas, a combined Lugagun and Munawai team, 22-17 before a packed crowd in the Cup final.
The winners walked away with K3,000 cash prize and the Cup, courtesy of Dekenai Construction and project manager John Murray to gauge interest and possibly return in a bigger way.
Just by luring Dekenai and minor sponsors R&J Trading and Chubby Enterprise should send a clear message that they now have the confidence of the business houses…but not their local MPs or Governor Sir Julius Chan.
Their provincial team – the New Ireland Drongos were once national sevens champions – but nobody remembers that MRDC sponsored Cup that they won over 10-years ago.
Remnants of that team are now fighting to rekindle some of that lost glory by taking the lead to re-ignite that passion again through the core of their young village talent.
The Kara-Nalik District Rugby Football Union (KNDRFU) has taken on that task for their mother body, New Ireland Rugby Union, to stimulate interest amongst 13 villages and those have been drawn from Kavineg Town and Konos in Central New Ireland.
Former Pukpuk players in George Pitalai, Ralph Pombie, Eremas Simba, KNDRFU chairman Valentine Nambulai, Ron Meli Jnr and local businessman John Shalom to name a few have taken on that agues task.
Already, some new gun players have emerged including Ngavalus Brothers star playmaker and huge Pukpuk sevens potential Mete Kaiposu.
Pitalai said Kaiposu represents a fresh new face for New Ireland rugby amongst a host of rising talent who were waiting for the moment to be recognised.
The competition enters 10-a-side for the next two weeks before getting their 15s season underway.
NIRFU is a long standing financial member of PNGRFU.