The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
REINFORCEMENTS are coming in for the Monier PNG Pukpuks to strengthen their resolve for this Saturday’s FORU Cup decider and RWC qualifier against pre-post favourites Cook Islands.
At this stage loose-forward Raymond Vagi has been given the call-up, following the injury (collar-bone) to hard-working Leme Tole who featured prominently in their gritty 39-32 win over Tahiti.
Vagi, a member of the development squad that toured the Gold Coast earlier this year, has been given a golden opportunity to redeem himself after going through a fitness test yesterday.
This has been forced upon the team management due to one or two casualties incurred following Game Two against Tahiti on Tuesday this week.
As per the tournament rules, the Pukpuks can only draw from the 26 declared players plus their original larger pool of players that were registered by all countries earlier.
Solomon Islands took advantage of that following the injury of one of their players from the opening match against PNG, to bring in one of their Port Moresby-based players that was declared in their larger squad to play the Cook Islands on Tuesday.
FORU Cup match-day coordinator Sailosi Druma however confirmed players can only be ruled unfit to play through medical reasons or physical injuries by the official tournament doctor. “Then FORU will confirm qualification of the player or players,” he added.
National coach Allan Manning yesterday confirmed they have casualties and are looking at the option of reinforcements if needed.