PNG 7s side in NZ for tourney

Normal, Sports

The National- Friday, January 28, 2011

 THE PNG 7s team under former All Black Shane Howarth, is currently in Auckland, New Zealand, preparing for the International Rugby Board Wellington 7s next weekend (Feb 4-5).

After being knocked out of the cup quarter-finals of the Darwin 7s last weekend the side flew on to New Zealand for what will their first major competition this year.

Team manager Keith Puaria said: “Unfortunately, we lost our quarter-final against eventual winners SRC Borneo Eagles 33-7 on Sunday. 

“This was probably not what we worked for but nevertheless, it’s exactly what the team needed going to Wellington.

“Right now, we are re-assessing the teams performance, and going straight into our preparations for Wellington on the training field and don’t need another thing to worry about, besides what we want to achieve at the Wellington 7s.”

PNG are in Pool B along side hosts New Zealand, Argentina and Scotland.

PNG Rugby Football Union general manager Billy Rapilla said the team had its work cut out for them in a “very tough”.

He agreed that making the bowl final at Wellington would be considered a success after the team’s previous best performance which was winning the bowl final at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi last year.

“We’d be doing pretty well if we made the bowl final and won it.

“Making the plate playoffs as far as the semi-finals would also be a huge achievement for the team,” Rapilla added.

PNG sides have performed poorly at previous tournaments in Wellington and will need to show a marked improvement particularly on defence to make to make the bowl final.