PNG thrash Wales 50-6 in World Cup opener
THE PNG Kumuls made a dream start to their 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign in front of a 14,800 sell-out crowd at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby yesterday.
Kumuls’ captain David Mead and backrower Rhys Martin set new try and points scoring marks to spearhead them to their biggest win ever in a World Cup match, beating Wales 50-6 in Port Moresby.
PNG’s previous greatest winning margin of 16 points was smashed as the Kumuls ran in 10 tries to one in a 50-6 demolition of Wales, who suffered their worst World Cup defeat.
Mead scored a hat-trick of tries to better former PNG great Stanley Gene’s record of two tries in a World Cup match, while Martin also scored two tries and kicked five goals to become the highest individual scorer for the Kumuls in a World Cup match.
The 44-point margin surpassed Wales 58-18 loss to New Zealand in 2000 as their previous biggest World Cup defeat and defence appeared to be their downfall as they missed 78 tackles to provide the Kumuls plenty of open space for their livewire backs to march downfield.
The opening siren was almost drowned out by the screams of the sold-out home crowd as the first ever Rugby League World Cup game in PNG got under way.
And it took just five minutes for PNG to capitalize on their home ground advantage through captain David Mead.
Mead received the ball 15 meters out from the Welsh goal line before a blistering turn of speed caught Wales off guard as the fullback planted the ball down in the corner for their opening try of the tournament.
Still riding a wave of momentum following their opening try, Mead found another way to the try line for his second try in just 10 minutes.
After moving up field with relative ease, Ase Boas lofted an inside ball to Mead who split the Welsh up the middle and put the ball down next to the posts.
Ase Boas missed both conversion in the opening 10 minutes leaving PNG to hold onto an early 8-0 lead.
Wales started to grind themselves back into the game despite the scorching heat making it hard on the Welshmen.
Tempers started to raise as the game was temporally stopped as Wales forward Ben Evans made a biting allegation against Wellington Albert. The incident was put on report by referee Ben Cummins and will be reviewed on Monday by the RLWC2017 match review committee comprising of chairman Michael Buettner and panelists Ben Ross and Michael Hodgson.
But poor discipline in defence began to hurt Wales as PNG ran in another three tries before the half time siren brought an end to the first half.
Claiming a healthy lead at the start of the second half, PNG continued their domination as they ran riot over a depleted Wales team.
In the 59th minute following three tries to start the second half, David Mead became the first PNG player to score three tries in a World Cup match.
Diving on a James Segeyaro kick from hooker, Mead slammed the ball down to extend the Kumals lead and edge his name into PNG’s history books.
On the stroke of full time Wales winger Regan Grace finally managed to cross into Papua New Guinea’s goal line but it meant little as PNG celebrated an impressive 50-6 victory.
- James Coman | @JamesComan1