Digicel, the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Pacific, wishes the Digicel Pukpuk 15’s team good luck in the FORU cup final in Niue on Tuesday April 22.
The Digicel Pukpuk 15’s team, ranked number 53 in the world, will be playing against the Niue national 15’s team, ranked number 69 in the world IRB rankings, in the inaugural FORU Cup tournament finals. The national coach Billy Rapilla said: “I am happy with the selected team. It is a well balanced and fit team which has been selected on merit. They are the best team for the job, we have been training very hard for this final so I’m confident we will come out as the stronger team”.
Digicel CEO, Kevin O’Sullivan, added: “Digicel is very proud that the Digicel Pukpuk 15’s team are playing in the FORU Cup finals. This is a great achievement and we wish them all the best and may the best team win!”
Digicel is the major sponsor of the Digicel Pukpuk 15’s and 7’s national teams. Digicel is committed in supporting rugby throughout the Pacific and is the proud sponsor of Fiji Rugby, Digicel Fiji Sevens and the Digicel Pacific Islanders Rugby Team. Digicel aims on becoming the sponsor of choice throughout the Pacific through its partnership with rugby union.
Bigger and better PNG Pukpuks down Niue
THE Digicel Papua New Guinea Pukpuks worked up a bit of steam to blast Niue 46-27 to claim the inaugural Federation of Oceania Rugby Union (FORU) Cup yesterday.
The challenge between third-tier rugby nations from Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific has now set new standards in their bid to claw through a new pathway in the near future.
By winning the inaugural FORU Cup, PNG has signalled their aspirations by strengthening their resolve, especially with the overpowering win.
Playing before the Niue home-crowd, the Pukpuks sent shock-waves through the small Polynesian island township with a seven-try routing.
Not even their huge New Zealand-based forward pack could do much to deny the blood-hungry Pukpuks cutting down their opponents with bone-crushing tackles and fearless hit-ups.
The feverish Pukpuks attacked and defended in numbers like possessed mad-men.
The courageous effort of the Pukpuk forward pack led by lock and skipper Willie Rikis laid the foundation for their try-hungry backs to open up at will.
Pukpuk centre Roland Namo had a memorable outing scoring a hattrick, one in the first half and two in the second-half. The young man from Sepik and Central filling in for Raymond Romalus who was a 11th hour withdrawal, performed admirably in what was expected to be a pressure cooker for a debutant starter.
The opening try came off a typical hole-punching run from number 8 George Oki, that set the forwards straight into the pick and go from the tackle site.
Following a quick play the ball went to playmaker Douglas Guise and then a cut-out pass to Namo saw the former University student beat the first line of defence and the full-back at the same time to open the flood gates at the three minute mark.
A relieved PNG coach Billy Rapilla speaking by phone from Niue last night said it was a great win and he was happy for the players enjoying their rugby after putting so much work into their preparation.
“The hattrick by Roland was the icing on the cake,” he said.
“The forwards really stepped up when rumours were flying around before the match that they will be facing a pack of seasoned Auckland-based premier division players,” he said.
Rooney is the forwards coach and Jarrad the coaching mentor.
The other tries were scored by winger Gina Ponda (3:19, 44:40), Wesley Thomas (44:00) and fullback Jack Maraha (3:43).
Namo kicked a penalty and two conversions and Maraha the other two conversions.
The starting line-up: McMann Luke, Wesley Thomas, Adrian Dixon, Rikis, Aaron Miai, Ralph Pombie, Tony Tadabe, Oki, Lawrence Acanufa, Guise, Chris Hogi, Namo, Shadrach Gabhabiliha, Ponda, Maraha.
Reserves used Moses Koko, Shane Amean, Umba Ben, Charlie Maips, Eremas Simba, Daniel Kulmat and Solomon Joseph.