Photo / YouTube.com (RugbyLeague)
The Papua New Guinea Kumuls have decisively beaten the Great Britain Rugby League Lions last night in Port Moresby, winning 28-10 in front of a raucous home crowd.
It ends a miserable tour for the Lions, who have now lost four games in a row after defeats to Tonga and two to the Kiwis. However, things were looking up for them after they led 10-0 due to tries to Blake Austin and Josh Hodgson early. They also had to contend with the loss of veteran prop James Graham, who was assisted from the field after a heavy collision with the man known as the ‘White Kumul’, Luke Page.
It took until the final play of the half for the Kumuls to get on the board, with Edwin Ipape running from dummy-half on his own side of halfway and showing incredible pace to get over next to the posts.
Watson Boas then drew them level with a try after the break, and it set up a second 40 minutes that completely belonged to the home side.
Two more tries followed off attacking kicks by the Kumuls, before Nixon Putt sealed the win by collecting a spilt bomb by Jonny Lomax at the back.
It is the Kumuls’ first win over the Lions since 1990, and although his side has been heavily criticised for under-performing, coach Wayne Bennett said that the result shows that international rugby league is becoming more competitive.
“You all need to have a good look at what’s happened with the international game over the last five or six years,” he said post-match.
“They’re playing more Test matches and more competitions and you’re starting to see the benefits of it. You’ve seen the emergence of Tonga, you’ve seen how much your team [Papua New Guinea] has improved and Samoa are much improved. The boys all want to play for their country now.”
“So, while we’ve got to swallow a bitter pill as Great Britain, on the other side of the ledger I see the game getting stronger. It was a wonderful game of football here. Everybody was entertained throughout.
“If I look at that side of it, I’m pleased with it. If I look at our performance, I’m disappointed we underachieved. We didn’t have a great tour. We had some great moments but not a great tour.”
Papua New Guinea Kumuls 28 (E Ipape, W Boas, A Johnston, N Putt tries; R Martin 3, K Laybutt goals)
Great Britain 10 (B Austin, J Hodgson tries; G Widdop goal)
HT: 10-6 GB