By KEITH PUARIA
A GLIMMER of hope awaits PNG rugby sevens side in Pool C of the Adelaide leg of the International Rugby Board sevens series that kicks off next Friday.
The team leaves today at 1pm, seven days ahead of the tournament.
PNG have been drawn with crowd favourites Kenya, Wales and Wellington winners, Fiji, in probably the only “painless” looking pool of the tournament.
While PNG’s previous results in their encounters with Kenya have been below expectations, the sevens flagship of the African continent has threatened regulars since their return to the circuit, even posing wins against the top teams.
Against Wales, it has been a while since PNG turned the 2002 series on its head in Brisbane, winning 33-17 over the European side, but a Fiji revisit about a month after the Wellington meet, might just be the opportunity to heal those wounds.
The sevens squad, meanwhile, has been in camp for a week and a half now, with the return of Brisbane-cum-Kimbe-based speed merchant Gina Ponda adding added-mile to the stocks.
The injection of power in brother Daniel Ponda, and Kavieng Black Orchid sevens find Eugene Tokavai has opened coach Waisale Serevi’s options for strike and a little unpredictability.
With clear signs from Wellington of the “rust” in the playmaking department, the management has not given too much away and is looking to stick by its current organisers, with the three inclusions, to the original squad.
The rest of the squad from the Wellington leg are Alex Haija, Monty Diave, Lawrence Kuso, Sova Milfred, Benjamin John, David Eri, Roland Namo, Albert Levi Junior, Kojo Ware, Tisa Kautu and Karo Kauna, with Willie Rikis (assistant coach) and Malcolm Giheno (manager).
Pool A – New Zealand, Argentina, Scotland, Tonga, pool B – Samoa, South Africa, France, Japan and pool D – England, Australia, USA and Niue.