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‘Papuans’ worthy opponents: England

From Richard Jones in London

Lam_Shirt England rugby league captain Jamie Peacock obliquely praised Papua New Guinea's first game performance at the 2008 World Cup in comments published in Monday's London press. While insisting the Lions would improve on their come-from-behind 32-22 win over the Kumuls, Peacock said the PNG players had proved dour opponents.

"They were worthy opposition but I have to say the World Cup is not won in the first game. We know there are areas where we need to improve vastly and I think we're used to that in (England's) Super League. Improving on your performance from the week before is vital in our games at home."

Trailing 12-6 after 28 minutes the fired-up Kumuls stung England with three tries before half-time to lead 16-12 at the break. St Helens winger Ade Gardner added to his first-half try and Leeds winger Lee Smith completed a hat-trick on debut as the Lions took advantage of a tiring Kumuls' outfit.

Papua New Guinea's lack of match fitness was commented on by sports writers in London's Sunday papers. Ed Hughes, writing in the Sunday Times, said ‘the Papuans’ tired in the final 15 minutes. The habit of referring to the Kumuls as 'the Papuans' is common among English sports writers covering this World Cup.

Papua New Guinea's next pool game is against New Zealand at the Gold Coast this Saturday.


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