PNG Kumuls made it two wins from two in the Rugby League World Cup, but not without a fight from Ireland, in a tough but error strewn match that the Kumuls eventually won 14-6.
KUMULS ARE EXCITING TO WATCH BUT EQUALLY FRUSTRATING
PNG Kumuls are an exciting team to watch with their enthusiastic, powerful ball running and tackling, and the positives were on show against Ireland in Port Moresby with the Kumuls racking up 9 line breaks to none. However none of them directly led to tries. This was because of a side to the PNG sides (Kumuls and Hunters) that can sometimes cost them victory – the error rate. PNG made 18 errors on Sunday and their completion rate was under 60%. Thankfully for them, and the passionate supporters in the National Football Stadium, Ireland made just as many, and threw away as many great attacking chances. The lack of errors was the main reason they put a big score on Wales, and against the better sides they could face if they make the knockout stages, they won’t be so lucky.
IRELAND HAVE TO BE THE 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE SURPRISE PACKETS
The Irish proved that their first up win over Italy in Cairns was no one-off fluke as they pushed the Kumuls in heat and excitable atmosphere of Port Moresby all the way on Sunday afternoon. The Irish were ferocious in defence, with some of their hits flattening some of the Kumuls, which is some kind of effort. Their attack wasn’t too bad either, led again by the excellent Liam Finn, and for Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook not holding onto a grubber unaccompanied in the Kumuls in-goal in the 70th minute they may have been fully rewarded for their effort. They could still top Pool C so stand by for Week 3.
GARRY LO HIGH IMPACT
Try scoring machine Garry Lo continued his try scoring form for the Kumuls against Ireland (4 in 4), with another try and stand out display. His try for the Kumuls in the first half where he picked up a wayward pass and from a standing start scored from 20 metres out after getting around or through a number of Irish would-be tacklers will take the headlines no doubt, but his general play runs and kick returns were full of enthusiasm and power. Fans of Castleford could be in for an exciting 2018 season with Garry Lo signing with the Tigers for next season.
POOL C WIN AND QUARTER FINAL STILL UP FOR GRABS FOR BOTH
With the margin between Ireland and PNG being close, it still gives the Wolfhounds a chance to top Pool C and leapfrog the Kumuls into the quarter finals. It would take an Ireland win and PNG loss in next weekend’s games, and a turnaround of the 38 points Ireland are in deficit by. The Irish play Wales next weekend, and on current form you couldn’t rule out Ireland getting the big win they need. The weak link for Ireland is the Kumuls play USA in Port Moresby where a loss to the Tomahawks seem very unlikely.
PNG KUMULS 14
Tries: Garry Lo, Nene McDonald, Watson Boas
Goals: Ase Boas 1 Conv
IRELAND WOLFHOUNDS 6
Tries: Michael McIlorum
Goals: Liam Finn 1 Conv
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