Papua New Guinea Vs Wales
Game two sees both Papua New Guinea and Wales historically clash for the very first time in the tournament!
A rather interesting clash as both nations possess experience at the top level in both hemispheres.
The Kumuls, despite being ranked six place below the Welsh, have home advantage and will want to make an immediate impact given rugby league is their national sport!
Their key figures involve Paul Aiton, James Segeyaro, Kurt Baptiste plus Garry Lo and skipper David Mead.
Plenty of experience, some of them have well and truly left a marker down across the world but don’t discount their locals, they’ll be eager for an impact too.
Their forward pack in Stanton and Wellington Albert as well as Enoch Maki from the PNG Hunters, it is their time to shine with plenty to play for, not only International action but recognition for club rugby, especially over in the Super League.
Playing their national sport on home soil in a rare tournament is something the Kumuls will cherish, meaning Wales, under John Kear, have it all to do.
But you couldn’t ask for a better coach than the miraculous Kear, he just may have a few surprises still in him.
The Welsh have plenty of talent themselves, with Craig Kopczak captaining the side.
Considering he’s a prop and able to lead players such as Joe Burke, Gavin Bennion and Sam Hopkins in the front row, it should provide an interesting battle in such a department.
That and the Welsh boast talent in the back line; Chester Butler at Halifax starred in the Qualifiers, Rhys Williams and his achievements at London and let’s not forget St Helens’ hottest prospect in Regan Grace.
Furthermore, having Vice-captain Elliot Kear and half-back Danny Ansell to link-up provides Wales with plenty of options.
A very close call as the Kumuls look the bigger but Wales could arguably prove the smarter.
However, given the home advantage, the Kumuls have to be favoured just slightly, given that they have more top level figures in their squad.
Wales will be more than plucky under Kear but will be undone given the Kumuls’ aforementioned advantages plus the warm weather Wales will be alien to so yes, the Kumuls to win but it will be very close!