The National, Tuesday July 9th, 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
THE Monier PNG Pukpuks have to open up with all guns blazing to gain the ascendancy in Game 2 of the FORU Cup regional rugby championships against Tahiti at the Lloyd Robson Oval today.
The Pukpuks after their lack-luster effort against the Solomon Islands will be hungry to put on a better performance today.
While there are no confirmation as to changes to the Pukpuks, national coach Allan Manning could give flanker Leme Tole a run on the side of the scrum while second five-eighth Ralph Susuve should focus on shoring up the area just off the ruck and playmaker Robert Bulumaris off the bench.
For Tahiti they will struggle in general play, but will trouble the Pukpuks if forwards Loic Grosbras, Ronald Natua, Martin Taeae, Noel Teihoarii, Clyde Mauahiti, Kaena Timo, Marc Richmond and skipper Tunui Anaania can control the pace of the game.
PNG are expected to win and again their sevens quartet of Tisa Kautu, Henry Liliket, Hubert Tseraha and Albert Levi will be looked on to score tries.
In the earlier match at 1pm, the Solomon Islands Hunters have their backs to the wall and must beat the Cook Islands to have any chance of winning the cup.
The Cook Islands are on equal first with five points along with the Pukpuks but are ahead on points differential, with the Hunters in third with one and Tahiti yet to register.
Cook Islands will face another pack that can claim parity with theirs in terms of size but the battle of the playmakers could be the telling factor in this match.
Hunters skipper Corey Chapman and his hulking backrow of Fredson Puketehua, and the Delaiverata brothers Ilisoni and Ross will certainly test the Cooks in the middle.
Unless the Hunters have resolved their attacking options out wide, the latter will run over them.