Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pukpuks retain FORU Cup

Source: Sports, Post Courier, November 05 2011
By WENDY KATUSELE

Papua New Guinea Pukpuks have retained the Oceania rugby union Cup after capping off a successful series in Port Moresby.
After going through the tournament undefeated the icing to the cake was to beat Niue in their final encounter which the relatively young side just did with ease to come out 36-7 victors following a three day gruesome tournament which started last Tuesday.
The Pukpuks thrashed Vanuatu 78-3 in the opener on Tuesday and beat Solomon Islands Warriors 33-15.Coming out on top now means PNG has set a date with Fiji one of the Oceania teams in this year’s World Cup which was placed last for the region, at a later date.
But up against Fiji would be a mammoth task for PNG to come up with the size to withstand the towering and bulky Fijians.
For the Pukpuks, it was a physical encounter in the first 20 minutes before Sevens specialist and fullback Christopher Kakah scored from the corner to put PNG ahead.
Not long after, it was No 8 Billy Torea who crossed over the tryline with Wesley Rooney finding the uprights for a 12-nil half time score.
Pukpuks came back strongly in the second half wasted no time with winger Andrew Samson running a few yards to off load the ball to fast finishing Tisa Kautu who set up Philip Suapoto score a converted try.
The appearance of experienced prop Wesley Thomas for Shane Amean saw the big guy’s entry a boost to the forward pack.
But Pukpuks could have ran away with a thrashing scoreline if it was not for many dropped balls.
Pukpuks other tries came from Torea, Rooney and replacement Kumalau Auru from a good set play initiated by Kakah who was moved to wing when captain Jonah Kautu Jnr was brought in from the bench.
The move from Kakah with a pass to workaholic Kautu who fended off several defenders before off loading to Auru for the final try for the day.
Niue’s only try was scored by winger Jeremiah Makavilitogia.
Captain Luka Gibb admitted his side was up against a very fast Pukpuks line up.
Winning captain Jonah Kautu Jnr gave heaps of praise to his charges for a job well done adding they would not have done it without the home crowd behind them.
The loss by Niue allowed Solomon Islands to finish second behind the Pukpuks after they beat Vanuatu 48-20 earlier in the day.
An elated coach Ike Ketane said it took him seven weeks to put the team together and the team performed beyond expectations.
“It’s a great effort for my very young team and to finish second is just great,” Ketane said.
“The team has gained a lot of experience from this tournament and we will build there from here and most off all congratulations to my boys for coming this far,” Ketane added.

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