By Richard Cowley, Date: 28/10/13
On a rainy afternoon at Craven Park in Hull, fans witnessed France and Papua New Guinea put their bodies on the line in a physical encounter that saw both sets of forwards try and get the upper hand up the middle of the ruck.
It didn’t take long for the French to put points on the board with Thomas Bosc going over the line 5 minutes into the match. Bosc also converted his own try to put France ahead 6 – 0
The battle continued up the middle for the next 12 minutes until McDonald crossed in the 17th minute to register first points for Papua New Guinea (6 – 4).
It was easy to see and hear that the fans at Hull were backing the Kumuls with every break cheered and every big tackle applauded. If there was such a thing as a home game away from home this match was it.
Both sides continued the battle in the forwards with the windy and wet conditions making it hard for both teams to play an expansive game. The 6 – 4 score line remained the same up until half time.
Papua New Guinea came out fast in the 2nd half and spread the ball to the left with Abavu scoring in the corner a few minutes into the half. David Mead missed the conversion from out wide. The Kumuls now in front for the first time in the match 6 – 8.
Some poor discipline from Papua New Guinea in the 59th minute saw a penalty for France right in front of the Kumuls uprights. Thomas Bosc didn’t waste the opportunity kicking the goal and evening up the score line 8 – 8.
Four minutes later and 35 meters out from the Kumuls line, the unorthodox play of the French came to light when Barthau kicked a drop goal with the crowd booing in the back ground to put France ahead 9 – 8.
The grind of the forwards continued on with the time slowly becoming an issue for the Kumuls.
The Kumuls finally got there chance in the 77th minute with a penalty in front and 20 metres out from the French goal posts. But David Mead continued his bad night with the boot and with the pressure of the situation showing, Mead missing the conversion allowing France to hold on and win 9 – 8
France 9, Tries: Bosc, Goals: Bosc (2), Drop Goals: Barthau.
Papua New Guinea 8, Tries: Abavu, McDonald.