Men playing touch rugby

Touch rugby defending champions PNG face tougher competition on day two

005A2231 | February 24, 2024
PNG captain Angelena Watego. Photos: Charlie Ando Bitikolo, Pacific Games News Service

PNG, defending champions in both men’s and women’s touch rugby, faced some tougher tests on day two of the competition on Tuesday at DC Park.

PNG men faced stiff resistance from Samoa and settled for a 2-2 draw.

In the women’s division, PNG could not find an advantage as they drew 4-4 with Fiji.

PNG women’s captain Angelena Watego told the Pacific Games News Service: “It was a tough game where Fiji came out strong, leading in the first half; hence, we put a late comeback for a draw.”

However, the PNG men’s touch rugby team got comfortable wins in their other match on Tuesday, beating Niue 5-1, while the women edged past Samoa 3-2.

Tuesday’s first match saw Solomon Islands men being taken down by a strong Fiji side 12-5. The hosts’ hopes of entering the qualifying rounds for the finals was again denied by a newcomer to the sport, Norfolk Island, who won 7-6 in the afternoon.

The last match of the day saw the Fiji men’s team beat Niue 8-5.

Fiji team captain Johanson Keith Nauluvula said Niue gave them a tough run, but they managed to cross the try line.

He also shared the challenges facing his team in the afternoon events, such as the heat, but said now that they are getting used to it, they can focus on their next game with Cook Islands on Wednesday, which he described as going to be hard for them.

Cook Islands proved to be a tough contender in the men’s event as they beat Kiribati 9-2 and drew with Norfolk Island 4-4 in the play-offs today to complete the round robin.

Cook Islands team captain Maka Maui said their big challenge for Wednesday would be the impressive Fijians.

“We just have to prepare ourselves for that game and give all we can,” he said.

Touch rugby continues on Wednesday with qualifying and medal matches for the men’s and women’s tournaments, before the mixed tournament begins on Thursday.

By Tali Dever, Arnold Peter, and Ambrose Toremana, Pacific Games News Service

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