PNG score first win but at Wellington 7s

Normal, Sports

The National- Monday, February 7, 2011

 PNG surprised Scotland 14-12 in their Pool B clash on day one of the Wellington 7s on Friday and also recorded a narrow 14-10 loss to Argentina and a 45-0 canning by eventual cup winners New Zealand on the same day.

The solitary win ensured PNG would play for the bowl but a 22-10 loss to FORU nemesis the Cook Islands in the bowl quarter-final set the tone for day two (Saturday) which ended in the national 7s team capitulating 52-10 to France in the shield semi-final.   

The bright spots for PNG at Wellington were the two pool matches against the Scots and the Argentines which coach Shane Howarth said was pleasing.

PNG matched the South Americans with two tries apiece in the first  Pool B game but wayward conversions denied a possible draw while in the third encounter the tournament minnows upset top 10 ranked Scotland by two points.

Converted tries to Shadrach Ghabiliha and Eugene Tokavai gave PNG a 14-0 break at halftime which the stunned Scots were unable to overhaul in the second half.

Although PNG were thumped by the homeside on day one, they would have been generally buoyed by the performances. 

It all came to naught though as the side trailed 12-5 at the break to the Cooks in the bowl quarters before folding and then mentally switching off against the   French in the shield semis letting in eight tries.

In other results Fiji won the plate beating South Africa 26-12 while Kenya defeated Tonga 19-0 for the bowl and USA edged France 19-12 for the shield.