Rugby stalwarts call for support

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday 03rd April 2013


THE West New Britain provincial government has been called to recognise what rugby union has done in developing youths for the past 10 years.

This year marks a decade and the union is still churning out representative players from the village level into the Papua New Guinea sevens team.

This is largely because of the success of the Pacific MMI Kimbe Rebels team. 

The latest national sevens recruit is Henry Liliket, who has travelled the world to the IRB World Sevens Series or Oceania Cup tournaments.

Liliket was a stand-out during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

Others who have blossomed at the level in the past include Frederick Mat­thies, Michael Vitolo, Hubert Vi­tolo and the Ponda brothers – Gina and Gare.

When you add the numerous na­­tional and provincial titles, the WNB Rugby Football Union are deserved winners in developing home-grown talent to achieve goals they would never have dreamed they would in a life-time.

WNB Rugby Football Union pre­sident Frederick Matthies said local business houses continuoulsy chipped in to support their cause and their success had landed them a corporate sponsor in Pacific MMI.

“Rugby is now spreading to Bialla after Kimbe and Hoskins, and all we want is to have some form of support from our provincial government to sustain the programmes that we have in place,” Matthies said.

“I call on the WNB provincial government to recognise rugby union’s achievements so far at the local, provincial, national and international level,” he said.

“In the past 10 years we have had minimal support from the WNB government with numerous proposals turned down.

“There are only three active codes that go through with their season every year which are soccer, rugby league and rugby union, other codes are none existent because of the lack of financial support.”

He said the three codes were supported by the private sector with Kurt Reiman supporting soccer, Elvis Matthies backing rugby league and himself for rugby union.

“There needs to be greater priority given to sports within the pro­vince, especially codes that have achieved a lot,” he said.

Matthies said to mark their 10 years the WNBRFU had bought a 15-seater bus.

Alongside Matthies have been Ian O’Hanlon as treasurer and Peter Prior as vice-president, who have been supporting the code in the province.

Matthies said the business arm of the association would be run by Prior to generate funds. 

“Sporting codes cannot rely only on sponsorship to support their associations, we need to be proactive in generating some income,” he said.