Papua New Guinea Kumuls | #RLWC2021 Hype
In Papua New Guinea, Rugby league is highly popular and is regarded as the country’s national sport. In a nation where communities are far apart and many people live at a minimal subsistence level, rugby league has been described as a replacement for tribal warfare. Many Papua New Guinean players have left the country in order to pursue professional Rugby League careers in Great Britain and Australia, with the current squad comprising of players made up of a mixture of locally based players and players playing the Super League in England and NRL in Australia.
Rugby league in PNG was first played in the late 1940s; it was introduced to the nation by Australian soldiers stationed there during and after the Second World War and subsequently, PNG were admitted to the Interntaional Rugby League federation in 1974. On 6 July 1975, in Port Moresby, PNG, the Kumuls played their first ever international. They were beaten 40-12 by England.
Most recently, the PNG Kumuls lost both their 2019 Oceania Cup test matches to Samoa and Fiji respectively, before ending that year on a high with their most recent international match, which was a 28-10 win against the Great Britain Lions. PNG will be looking to go one step further in the RLWC2021 compared to the last tournament in 2017 where they lost in the quarter-finals to this year’s tournament hosts, England.