The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
THE honour and integrity of the Papua New Guinea Pukpuks must be retained.
Former PNG Pukpuk skipper David Tiki said he was not ashamed to admit he shed tears when the Pukpuks lost to Cook Islands 39-31 last Saturday blowing their chances of playing Fiji in a 2015 RWC qualifier.
“We have to stop licking our wounds, accept all the criticism and work on rectifying the problem today,” Tiki said.
Regarded as one of the ‘hard men’ to wear the Pukpuk jumper during the 1990s, Tiki said he was disappointed that all that hard work, sweat, blood and tears that the Pukpuks from the past had built up has dropped to an all time low.
“Our home-grown players of the past 20 years were always dominant over the Solomon Islands, Tahiti and even the Cook Islanders. Others have progressed while we have been complacent and not prioritising 15s rugby which is coming back to haunt our administrators,” he said.
“PNG rugby has a reputation to protect and the loss must be dealt with,” Tiki (pictured) said.
“For too long now we have been talking too much about development and yet rugby as we know it is no longer existent in the Highlands, interest levels have dropped to an all time low in Morobe and there is no longer a national provincial championship to expose and select players,” he said.
“And you ask why the Pukpuks are not performing? I guess one reason is because the 15s pathway from club to provincial level is no longer there and while it’s not the players fault, they just haven’t been toughened up in-country and given a worthwhile oversees tour to have them ready,” he said.