PNG rugby union struggling

PORT MORESBY, 04 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – It’s now October, two months away from the end of another year (2018) and rugby union is struggling without a single PNG rugby football union sanctioned championship or tournament staged.

Active provincial competitions for 2018 outside Port Moresby have been the Morobe rugby union and East New Britain rugby union.

To date there is no competition in Goroka with the last active season in 2015 while for Mt Hagen, I can’t remember ever an annual season backdating to the last competition ending in the early 2000.

Madang has struggled to kick starts its 15s competitions in recent years and 2018 is no different.
New Ireland, especially Kavieng, has receded to dormancy for the last 3-4 years.

In Namatanai district, the continuous blame on lack of funding supersedes all reasons even though it witnessed the hosting of the local Dalnan 7s last month on independence weekend. The only rugby union gathering so far for the year.

In Kimbe, West New Britain Province, home of the Kimbe Rebels who have the highest unbeaten record of PNG 7s titles so far, the reach of an annual competition has put an abrupt stop to the cumulative championships. The Rebels last show was probably in 2016 at the Black Orchid 7s.

Talks of the revival of the once prestigious Bismark Cup dominated in the New Guinea islands filled up the social media earlier this year but look where we are now just two months shy of 2019.

Earlier in the year announcements of a two-party talk between the East New Britain and Bougainville rugby revealed the pleasing announcement that the president of Autonomous Region of Bougainville Rugby Union has accepted ENBRFU’s offer to stage an annual challenge between both regions.

The AROB Rugby Union proposed the challenge be called, The Andrew Kaiat Cup, in memory of the late Andrew Kaiat, former president of both ENBRFU and Royals club respectively.

The establishment of an annual challenge between AROB Rugby Football Union and ENBRFU will take place at the end of each year, starting in 2018 in Buka. You have two months remaining. And described as a vision and incorporating the challenge to remember a local rugby union legend in Andrew Kaiat Snr.

Similarly in Lae last weekend the Hammerheads versus Dagwalas was to revive old rivalry in the field of play from their last meet some two years ago.

So far in both matches was the initial idea of the respective associations and little to show from PNGRFU.
On Saturday the first of a provincial sides match for 2018 was staged in Lae between the NKW Morobe Hammerheads thrashing the NCDRFU Dagwalas of Port Moresby 30-0 winning the inaugural Trans-Coastal Cup.

The Trans-Coastal Cup is the brainchild of NCDRFU, newly established association in Port Moresby which is into its second year.

NCDRU believes that rugby union in PNG has been under a lot of stress and the trans-coastal is just one step in getting rugby back in the right direction.

At the end of this month from October 27-28 is the annual Kalibobo Madang 7s and mind you the MRFU has been the first to announce its participation through the media. That’s the Hammerheads not forgetting already four local Lae clubs that I know of aiming for Madang two fortnights from now.

The Kalibobo 7s has the tendency of attracting teams throughout PNG and with the drought in sanctioned PNGRFU challenges for almost two years now will no doubt see a massive turn up in Madang.

Last weekend, Kilroy Genia, the father of Australian Wallabies scrum half Will Genia presenting the inaugural Trans Coastal champions ,said we can only get better with such competitions.

Genia, committing his family to continue supporting the code in PNG, said competitions such as this grow the game and it’s good to interact and see where we stand.

MRFU president Winston Nenjipa said whilst so much has been concentrated up there it must also be a concern that the interest of the code is nationwide and only through such representative challenges can the spirit of the code progress.

Hammerheads coach Michael Muriki added that the staging of representative rugby at the local frontier builds the craving and enthusiasm among players. He said it creates the reason to play rugby union.

The PNGRFU announced earlier in June before the PNG Pukpuks and Palais participation at the World 7s in San Francisco that this is the rebuilding state for PNG rugby and given their ranking and participation does not put them as cup contenders.

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