Kumuls can knock England out of world cup says Paul Aiton
Officials' bad behaviour tarnishes B/ville referendum consultation

Kumuls need to keep down error count to challenge England

Josh Hodgson and James Segeyaro (Gregg Porteous & David Buller)
Josh Hodgson & James Segeyaro


England v Papua New Guinea, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Sunday 4pm AEDT

MELBOURNE - England face an undefeated Papua New Guinea side who venture outside Port Moresby for the first time in this Rugby League World Cup.

Wayne Bennett's England side has shown patches of what they are capable of, without yet putting in an 80-minute performance, with victories over France (36-6) and Lebanon (29-10).

The Kumuls come to Melbourne after accounting for Wales, Ireland and the USA by a combined 128-12.

The English get Sam Burgess back who returns from a knee injury and will start in the second row, with Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins replacing Stefan Ratchford and Mark Percival in the backline.

Gareth Widdop retains his spot at fullback, while Kevin Brown and Luke Gale remain in the halves. Elliott Whitehead comes back into the back row and Josh Hodgson starts in place of James Roby who drops to the bench.

PNG coach Michael Marum has made minimal changes. Ase Boas comes in for Lachlan Lam at five-eighth, while Stanton Albert and Rod Griffin are on the bench for Nixon Putt and Enock Maki respectively.

Why England can win

They've started well in all three games so far and, apart from their opener Australia, have overcome their opponents through an influx of first-half points.

Their defence has also held up against the best – the Kangaroos could only manage three tries – and Bennett will have them primed for a better performance coming into the knockout rounds.

Why PNG can win

The Kumuls are riding the wave of their success in the pool stages. Skipper David Mead has led the way with four tries this tournament and will be keen to add to his tally tomorrow.

Many of these players have been together for a long time when you factor in the PNG Hunters' success in the Queensland Cup and coach Michael Marum has got them playing for each other.

The History

England has had the better of the Kumuls in their two previous clashes, though PNG went close in the 2008 World Cup where England left it late to win 32-22.

Match officials

Referee: James Child; Touch judges: Mark Craven and Chris Butler; Video referee: Steve Chiddy.


Channel Seven – live from 3:30pm AEDT.

NRL.com predicts

England's game management and the class in their spine should be too much for PNG. The latter has been impressive, and they need to keep their error count to a minimum if they are to challenge Sean O'Loughlin and his troops. England by 10.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Michael Geketa

I support the LNG Kumuls to win World Cup. They will knock off England then demolish Tonga in the semis before an all-pacific teams grand final show down with Fiji who is to upset the favorites in the Australian Kangaroos in the semi-final.

This year is the pacific era not only in sport but other aspects of life. Western dominance in almost every aspects of life is being eroded starting this year in the Rugby League World Cup.

This has been prevalent in this year's World Rugby League Cup upsets by the pacific countries upon the giants of Rugby League playing countries.

"There is time for everything," the Bible says. The tide will surely change.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)