The National – Wednesday, December 8, 2010
By TRAVERTZ MABONE
SOUTH Pacific Brewery yesterday committed a massive K250,000 to the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union, some of which to assist the staging of the national sevens tournament this weekend.
After a successful outings in a couple of months at the Oceania tournament, Darwin sevens and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, SP Brewery general manager Stan Joyce extended the sponsorship to cover next year.
In acknowledging the work of the PNGRFU in developing the code, the first portion of the sponsorship of K35,000 was presented to PNGRFU president Richard Sapias yesterday which will go towards the SP Export Lager PNG Rugby 7s in Kokopo, East New Britain, on Saturday and Sunday.
Sapias said the national sevens would be the first national tournament hosted outside Port Moresby and Lae.
A total of 16 teams are to take part from only five provinces in the country.
They include East New Britain, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, New Ireland, Mt Hagen, Goroka and West New Britain.
Unfortunately Port Moresby and Lae did not register to participate in this year’s tournament while Daru pulled out last week. Lack of funding is said to be the cause of the major centres’ failure to attend the national tournament.
Sapias said the SP Export Lager PNG 7s partnership comes at a very important window of opportunity for rugby union’s growth and they were grateful to SP Brewery.
“This marks the beginning of PNG Rugby’s ultimate endeavour to stamp a permanent spot on the International Rugby Board (IRB) sevens circuit and we thank and congratulate SP Brewery through its Export Lager brand.”
National sevens coach Shane Howarth said that it was good to have the national sevens hosted at its stronghold in the New Guinea Islands region which should prove to be “positive, fun and clean”.
“We intend to take it on year by year to improve on our game as we do have the players and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be in the IRB world sevens circuit,” Howarth said.
“We are in the strongest rugby sevens region (Oceania) in the world and we’ve got the structures in place to compete but we need to work more on our overall understanding of the game and certain things we need to work on which are not un-achievable,” the former All Black and Welsh international said.