WORLD rugby sevens great and national coach Waisale Serevi took his final PNG squad straight to Bava Rugby Park yesterday for a protracted training session after finalising his side for the Pacific Sevens in Tahiti.
Serevi and his selection panel had initially picked a 14-man squad after last weekend’s MRDC Sevens, and then further trimmed the squad to 13, with one player to be omitted before travel.
Whilst maintaining seven players from the squad that contested the Mini Pacific Games in the Cook Islands, a poor showing over the weekend by a potential squad put together mid-year, forced the axe upon the whole squad, except Montgomery Diave and Gare Ponda.
Diave played his way into the final squad after a stand-out tournament despite his sides’ failure to impress, while Ponda steered his Kimbe Rebels to the major prize.
Former Wellington Sevens tourist and Masta Mark Rangers’ product Lawrence Kuso Jr returned to the game with his hand up to be picked along with team-mate Benjamin John.
The team: Alex Haija, Montgomery Diave, Gare Ponda, Kojo Ware, Albert Levi Jr, Leo Tikot Jr, Karo Kauna, Kuso, Sova Mildred, Buckley Joseph, Bobby Pau, Benjamin John and Peter Paulus
Camp commenced yesterday and will run until Nov 3 before the team departs for the Gold Coast via Brisbane on Nov 4.
The Gold Coast International Sevens from Nov 7-8 is first on the itinerary and will be an opportunity to prepare.
The side will return on Nov 9 before travelling to Tahiti the following day for the Nov 14-15 tournament.
Serevi will be assisted by Willie Rikis and Malcolm Giheno, as team manager.