Rugby League was first introduced into Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the late 1940s by Australian soldiers stationed there both during and after the Second World War. PNG, as a nation, played their first game in July 1975 in what ended in a 40-12 defeat to England.
PNG finished as runners-up in the 1997 Super League World Nines, won gold in the Nines at the 2015 Pacific Cup tournament and silver in 2019.
The Kumuls entered their first World Cup in 1985-88, performing admirably as they beat New Zealand 24-22 in a historic clash. Since then, they have qualified for another six World Cups with their best progress the quarter-finals in both 2000 and 2017.
PNG have made it to just one Four Nations tournament – in 2010 – and failed to win a game, but the Kumuls did lift silverware in 2009 with the Pacific Cup – their first success in 11 competitions.
The PNG women’s side will be competing in the 2021 World Cup too after exiting the pool stages in 2017.