Saturday, July 13, 2013

PNG demand improvement for Oceania Cup rugby decider


Papua New Guinea rugby coach Alan Manning is expecting a clash of two distinct styles in today’s Oceania Cup decider against the Cook Islands in Port Morebsy.
Both teams are unbeaten going into the final round of matches, following victories over Tahiti and the Solomon Islands.
The winner of today’s game will advance to a home and away playoff against Fiji next year for a spot at Rugby World Cup 2015.
Pukpuks coach Alan Manning says the hosts have yet to put in a full 80 minute performance and will need to counter their opponents physicality.
“It’s gonna be the old speed versus brawn sort of thing. We are a lot lighter than the Cooks, they’ve got a fairly heavy pack, and obviously we’re a lot quicker so it will all come down to sort of ball retention.” A crowd of about 20,000 is anticipated for today’s matches, with the Solomons Islands and Tahiti to square off before the main game.
Meanwhile, a shot at qualifying for the Rugby World Cup isn’t the only prize on offer for the winner of today’s clash.
The Cook Islands team manager, Cam Kilgour, says the World Cup carrot is definitely in the back of their minds but victory would also provide a welcome cash injection.
“It’s a money factor too for either the Cook Island Rugby Union or the Papua New Guinea Rugby Union. They get a bit of a purse and that helps with development in that region. It just means that you get a bit more funding and plus if you play the Fijians home and away you get a sell-out crowd - pocket that money - and that money goes into development. Their is a lot riding on the game and the further you go up the more money you can put into development.”

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