ALTHOUGH the IRB Adelaide Sevens provided its fair share of upsets, and surprise performances, PNG’s effort at this world series sevens tournament was in a word, shocking.
Coming off a poor showing in last month’s Wellington Sevens PNG had all the reason to strive for improvement in their game.
But huge losses to the likes of Pacific sevens colossus Fiji (41-0) and Kenya (27-7) and a 64-5 thumping at the hands of Wales during the pool phase was a stark reminder of the massive gulf in PNG’s sevens rugby development compared to other participants.
PNG, who were relegated to play for the lesser silverware, were again ripped to shreds 47-0 by a hungry England side in the Bowl quarter-finals on Saturday.
England beat Kenya 33-12 in the final of the Bowl.
PNG’s path then led to the third tier play-off for the Shield which they lost 45-0 to Tonga. Compounding PNG’s problems at this event were its players inablity to come to grasp with basic ruck laws and their constant infringements which were evident when two players were sin-binned in the Wales match on Saturday.
Uncomfirmed reports that PNG Sevens coach Waisale Serevi was not with the team in Adelaide raises speculation as to the kind of preparation of the players and their mindset heading into the tournament.
All in, PNG scored four tries throughout the three-day competition while conceding a whooping 40 tries.
This puts PNG sevens on the backfoot in terms of its development despite the success of several sevens competitions over the last two months in the country.
The Port Moresby 7s, the Trans-Highway 7s, the Kimbe 7s, Black Orchid 7s, the Morobe 7s and the recently completed Aroma Coast 7s says a lot for the potential of sevens rugby in PNG.
However the it is clear that something is wrong with the set up.
The team is due to arrive back in Port Moresby early this week with news of Serevi’s future as head of the national team seemingly in doubt.
Meanwhile, Samoa won the cup after defeating unlikely opponents, USA, 38-10 yesterday.
Samoa’s path to the main play-off saw the Polynesians defeating hosts Australia 26-16 in the semi-finals while the Americans impressed in their surprise 28-12 win over Argentina.
Tournament favourites Fiji had earlier lost to Australia 26-22 while the wily Argentines had pipped South Africa 17-14 in the Cup quarters.
In the other Cup quarter-final matches, USA shocked Wales 12-10 while Samoa won 24-19 against a rugged New Zealand side.