The PNGRFL has today announced they have confirmed participation of a PNG Kumuls U19 team in this year’s Commonwealth Games Festival in Glasgow.
PNG’s participation will be funded through the Team Kumul program in preparation for the South Pacific games in 2015. Other teams who have confirmed participation include Jamaica, South Africa, Australia, Scotland, England, Canada and Wales.
The tournament, to be played on the 27th & 28th of June 2014 is part of the festival leading into the games to showcase the sport for inclusion into the next Commonwealth Games as a full medal event.
Chairman of the PNGRFL Sandis Tsaka said Rugby League 9’s was a vital part of the restructured Team Kumul program;
“We need to where possible give our younger up and coming players an opportunity to play against international opposition. This is the only way they will improve as players and the nines format is a perfect introduction to International Rugby League. PNG players are made for this type of run and gun game which is attracting huge interest particularly with the launch of the Auckland 9’s competition for NRL clubs in 2014. We are lobbying through Mal (Meninga) to have a Pacific Islands Nation participate in the competition next year and it is certainly being seriously considered. PNG wants to be a part of the nines revolution and we believe it’s the perfect vehicle for our youth to show their talent on the world stage. We would like to thank sponsors of the Team Kumul program PNG LNG, NGCB, PNG Power and Air Niuguini whose sponsorship has enabled us to be a part of these international competitions.”
RLIF International Development Manager Tas Baitieri said;
“It is tremendous having PNG attending the Commonwealth Games Festival Rugby League 9’s tournament together with Australia. The hopes of the southern hemisphere hinges on the 2 nations competing in Scotland. Our acceptance into the festival event is another step towards climbing the Commonwealth Games ladder and one day competing with the other 17 sports for medals.
PNG won the bronze last time it participated in the festival event at the World Youth Games held in Moscow in 1998 and this was a tremendous achievement for rugby league in PNG at the time. These rugby league 9’s events fall within the Pacific Games strategy and the PNGRFL’s strategy in preparing players with new pathways and opportunities in the game.”