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Papua New Guinea national rugby league team

The Papua New Guinea national rugby league team represents Papua New Guinea in the sport of rugby league football.

Papua New Guinea
Badge of Papua New Guinea team
Team information
Nickname The Kumuls
Governing body PNGRFL
Region Asia-Pacific
Head coach Michael Marum
Captain James Segeyaro
Most caps Paul Aiton (16)
Stanley Gene
John Wilshere
Top try-scorers David Mead (9)
Menzie Yere
Top point-scorer John Wilshere (104)
Home stadium National Football Stadium
RLIF ranking 10th
Uniforms
First colours
Team results
First game
 England 40–12 Papua New Guinea 
(Port Moresby, PNG; 6 July 1975)
Biggest win
 Papua New Guinea 64–0 United States 
(Port Moresby, PNG; 12 November 2017)
Biggest defeat
 Australia 82–0 Papua New Guinea 
(Townsville, Australia; 7 October 2000)
World Cup
Appearances 7 (first time in 1985–1988)
Best result Quarter-finals: 2000, 2017

In Papua New Guinea, Rugby League is a highly popular sport and is regarded as the country’s national sport. The national side are known as the Kumuls ("birds-of-paradise" in Tok Pisin).

Contents

HistoryEdit

Rugby league in Papua New Guinea was first played in the late forties; it was introduced to the nation by Australian soldiers stationed there during and after the Second World War. Papua New Guinea were admitted to the game’s International Federation in 1974. On 6 July 1975, at Lloyd Robson Oval, in Port Moresby the Kumuls played their first ever international. They were beaten 40-12 by England. The English team were en route to Australia and New Zealand to fulfil away fixtures during the 1975 World Cup.

They first entered the Rugby League World Cup for the 1985-89 competition, though it was not until 2000 that they won away from home. In 1987 The Kumuls stage their first full test playing tour of Britain, after playing BARLA opposition in 1979. They lost the test 42-0 at Central Park, Wigan.

On Tuesday 20 October 1987, Cumbria met Papua New Guinea before a crowd of 3,750 at the Recreation Ground, Whitehaven. Cumbria won 22-4. Four days later Papua New Guinea played a World Cup rated Test against Great Britain.

During the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia a Test match was played at Port Moresby. Later that year Papua New Guinea played a World Cup match against Australia in Wagga Wagga, the Kangaroos recording a then international record winning margin of 62 points with a 70-8 win. Australian winger Michael O'Connor crossed for four tries and kicked seven goals for a personal points haul of 30, which could have been 44 had he not missed seven kicks at goal. In 1991 Papua New Guinea played host to a touring Great Britain, the series ended in a 1-1 draw.

On Sunday 27 October 1991, Papua New Guinea met Wales at Vetch Field, Swansea. Roared on by a fervent crowd of 11,422; Wales won by a record 68-0 margin, scoring thirteen tries. Papua New Guinea never recovered and lost all five matches in Britain, conceding 232 points in the process, and won only one of their four matches in France.

Papua New Guinea wound up their 1991 tour of Europe with a World Cup rated Test match against France, which was played on Sunday 24 November at the Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne. Despite Papua New Guinea leading 8-4 at half-time; France defeated their visitors 28-14.

The Kumuls hosted Australia for a two test series in October 1991 (won 2-0 by the Kangaroos), and also hosted Great Britain during the 1992 Lions tour of Australasia.

Papua New Guinea travelled to England to compete in the 1995 World Cup under coach Joe Tokam and captain Adrian Lam.[1] In their group was Tonga and New Zealand, against whom they failed to win a match.

In 1996 Bob Bennett, brother of the famous Wayne Bennett, was appointed the Kumuls' coach.[2] Also, in 1996, Adrian Lam captained the 'Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Team' against the Australian Kangaroos (52-6 win to Australia). Bob Bennett coached the 2000 World Cup Kumuls team to the qualification two the pool were the kumuls made it into the top 5 team in the world so the 2000 World Cup Kumuls team was granted the best kumuls team. In 2005 Papua New Guinea beat the Australian Prime Minister's XIII 24-16 in Darwin. This was the first win over any Australian based national side. In 2007 Papua New Guinea drew with Australia PM XIII 24-24.

They were granted automatic qualification to the 2008 World Cup but were placed in a pool with the top three teams, Australia, New Zealand and England, and failed to win a match in the tournament.

2010 controversyEdit

The Papua New Guinea team experienced huge difficulties leading to the 2010 Rugby League Four Nations Tournament, as politicians clashed for control over the game and the governing body, the PNGRFL, was split over issues concerning junior development, the national team and the Papua New Guinea NRL bid. This caused Adrian Lam to retire as head coach of the Kumuls in September 2010[3][4] while recently retired captain Stanley Gene, who had never coached a side before, was named his replacement.[5] The governing board were adamant that more Papua New Guinea-based players should be in the squad, and fewer Australia-based players should be picked. In early October the squad was announced for the tournament and consisted of 12 PNG-based players with captain Paul Aiton being the only NRL player.[6] Whilst the Australian team for the tournament was worth an estimated A$10 million, local newspapers calculated the Kumuls value at around A$670,000.

Despite the Australian media treating the defeat of the Papua New Guinean team as a mere formality, with the team having odds of 125-1 to win the tournament, the players and journalists at home were positive that the Kumuls could make a lasting impression in the tournament.[7] After their first up 42-0 defeat against Australia, the team's enthusiasm and crunching tackles were praised, but ball control and creativity let the team down hugely.[8] However the team faced much more criticism after their 76-12 thrashing suffered at the hands of New Zealand, with fans angry at the poor display from the players[9] and some questioning the credentials of new coach Stanley Gene.[10] Days after the match a broader look at the sport in the country occurred with one assessment concluding that rugby league was poorly managed[11] and former PNG great Marcus Bai called on clubs to supply a greater number of representative standard players especially from the New Guinea Islands region which had supplied five of this year's team.[12] The way politics had made its way into the governing of the sport was also condemned.[13]

2015 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit

In May 2015, Papua New Guinea took on Fiji in the 2015 Melanesian Cup at Cbus Super Stadium. The International was part of a triple header which also included the Polynesian Cup, between Samoa and Tonga, and the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. The Kumuls never really troubled the Fijians after handling errors and poor decisions led to the Bati easily winning the inaugural Melanesian Cup by 22-10.

2016 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit

In May 2016, Papua New Guinea took on Fiji in the 2016 Melanesian Cup at Pirtek Stadium. The International was part of a triple header which also included the Polynesian Cup, between Samoa and Tonga, and the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. In this year's test, the Kumuls had more experienced players and it paid off. Despite being in a similar situation with the half time score, they managed to make a miraculous comeback not many saw coming, to record their first win 24-22 on away shores since the 2000 World Cup.

2017 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit

The PNG Kumuls won their second consecutive Pacific Cup test victory with a 32-22 victory over the Cook Islands at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

Current squadEdit

The Papua New Guinean squad for the 2018 Pacific Test vs Fiji on 23 June 2018.[14] Age, caps/pts, and club are as of 26 June 2018, after the match.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
WG/CE Justin Olam (1993-12-23)23 December 1993 (aged 24) 7 20   Melbourne Storm
WG Richard Pandia (1994-05-04)4 May 1994 (aged 24) 2 0   Ipswich Jets
WG Junior Rau (1993-11-01)1 November 1993 (aged 24) 1 8   PNG Hunters
CE Thompson Teteh (1989-07-12)12 July 1989 (aged 28) 5 4   PNG Hunters
FE Ase Boas (1988-12-26)26 December 1988 (aged 29) 7 22   PNG Hunters
FE Lachlan Lam (1998-03-25)25 March 1998 (aged 20) 2 8   Sydney Roosters
HB Watson Boas (1994-11-08)8 November 1994 (aged 23) 7 16   PNG Hunters
PR Stanton Albert (1995-09-15)15 September 1995 (aged 22) 6 4   PNG Hunters
PR Enoch Maki (1991-12-09)9 December 1991 (aged 26) 5 0   PNG Hunters
PR Luke Page (1991-01-12)12 January 1991 (aged 27) 8 4   Burleigh Bears
HK Kurt Baptiste (1991-03-15)15 March 1991 (aged 27) 6 0   Sydney Roosters
HK James Segeyaro (captain) (1990-11-11)11 November 1990 (aged 27) 5 4   Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
SR/LK Rod Griffin (1987-01-05)5 January 1987 (aged 31) 14 12   Townsville Blackhawks
SR Rhyse Martin (1993-03-01)1 March 1993 (aged 25) 8 52   Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
SR Willie Minoga (1987-09-17)17 September 1987 (aged 30) 7 0   PNG Hunters
SR Nixon Putt (1991-09-04)4 September 1991 (aged 26) 3 4   PNG Hunters
LK Rhadley Brawa (1991-12-21)21 December 1991 (aged 26) 1 0   PNG Hunters

Notable playersEdit

Tournament historyEdit

World CupEdit

World Cup record
Year Round Position GP W L D
19541977 Did not participate
    1985–88 Fourth place 4/5 8 2 6 0
    1989–92 Fifth place 5/5 8 0 8 0
  1995 Group stage 6/10 2 0 1 1
   2000 Quarter-finals 6/16 4 3 1 0
  2008 Group stage 10/10 3 0 3 0
   2013 Group stage 13/14 3 0 3 0
    2017 Quarter-finals 5/14 4 3 1 0
  2021 Qualified
   2025 To be determined
Total 0 Titles 32 8 23 1

Tri-Nations / Four NationsEdit

Tri-Nations / Four Nations record
Year Round Position GP W L D
19992006 Did not participate
   2010 Fourth place 4/4 3 0 3 0
20112016 Did not participate
Total 0 Titles 1/9 3 0 3 0

Pacific CupEdit

Pacific Cup record
Year Round Position GP W L D
  1975 Runners-up 2/4 4 2 2 0
  1977 Third place 3/5 4 2 2 0
  1986 Did not participate
  1986
  1990 Group stage 5/8 3 1 2 0
  1992 Did not participate
  1994
  1997 Third place 3/6 4 2 2 0
  2004 Did not participate
  2006
  2009 Champions 1/5 2 2 0 0
Total 1 Title 5/12 6 4 2 0

Past resultsEdit

Official Rankings as of July 2018
Rank Change* Team Pts%
1     Australia 100.0
2     New Zealand 72.7
3     England 70.4
4     Tonga 28.0
5     Fiji 25.8
6     Samoa 25.5
7     Scotland 24.5
8     France 18.3
9     Lebanon 13.9
10     Papua New Guinea 12.4
11     Ireland 10.6
12     Wales 8.0
13     Italy 7.4
14     United States 7.1
15     Jamaica 5.2
16   1   Canada 5.1
17   1   Serbia 4.4
18     Malta 3.8
19   3   Norway 2.7
20   1   Russia 2.6
21   8   Hungary 2.3
22   1   Spain 2.3
23   3   Belgium 2.3
24   2   Czech Republic 2.2
25     Ukraine 2.1
26   3   Greece 1.9
27   3   Philippines 1.9
28   1   Netherlands 1.4
29   2   Sweden 1.4
30   2   Germany 1.3
31   1   Cook Islands 1.3
32   3   South Africa 1.3
33   1   Chile 1.2
34   1   Niue 1.1
35   1   Denmark 0.8
36     Vanuatu 0.8
37     El Salvador 0.7
38     Thailand 0.7
39     Argentina 0.6
40     Colombia 0.6
41     Japan 0.4
42     Solomon Islands 0.4
43     Brazil 0.3
44     Uruguay 0.3
45     Hong Kong 0.2
46     Bulgaria 0.1
47     Latvia 0.1
48     Morocco 0.0
*Change from December 2017
Country Matches Won Drawn Lost
  Australia 12 0 0 12
  Cook Islands 2 2 0 0
  England 4 0 0 4
  Fiji 7 5 0 2
  France 14 4 1 9
  Great Britain 8 1 0 7
  Ireland 1 1 0 0
  New Zealand 18 1 0 17
  Samoa 1 0 0 1
  South Africa 1 1 0 0
  Tonga 8 7 1 0
  United States 1 1 0 0
  Wales 4 1 0 3
Total 81 24 2 55

Other Papua New Guinean teamsEdit

  • PNG Prime Minister's XIII - Development side to consist of local based players and only three international players, used to play both national and development sides.
  • PNG President XIII - PNGRFL 'select' usually playing another development side like Junior Kangaroos or New Zealand A. Rarely used to play national sides.
  • PNG Residents- Papua New Guinea development side made up of solely local players. Regularly playing matches with the Junior Kangaroos, New Zealand Māoris and even national sides.
  • Papua New Guinea Kundus - Papua New Guinea Junior U/18 schoolboys side.

- Recently played QLD U18 as a curtain raiser to Origin I. The QLD U/18 def. Kundus 20-16. The team is captained by Wayne Bond

Participated tournamentsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit