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PNGRFU, Oceania Rugby discuss championship

Papua New Guinea could host the Oceania rugby union championship an official says.

Port Moresby has hosted the Federation of Rugby Unions Cup in previous years (2011 and 2015) as well as World Cup regional qualifiers (2008).

Oceania Rugby regional competition manager Wayne Schuster is in the nation’s capital to assess that potential apart from holding discussions with the PNG Rugby Football Union.

Schuster, who met with PNGRFU administrator Martin Liri, said the discussions were underway to bring the regional 15s tournament which involves third-tier nations like PNG, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Tahiti.

Schuster was impressed with the facilities and venues available in Port Moresby.

Schuster said he was in town to do a feasibility study and discuss options with the PNGRFU and its sponsors.

“I’m here in the country see what opportunities there are for the PNGRFU to host the Oceania championship,” Schuster said.

“The facilities here very good.

“I was here in 2015 for the Pacific Games and was and privileged to see these amazing facilities during that time and was impressed.

“My discussions with the PNGRFU is about looking at possibility of bringing a key regional tournament for the betterment of the third-tier nations and Pacific island countries.

The Samoan rugby representative said rugby union in PNG was developing step by step after a period of instability and a lack of progress over the last four years.

Schuster said PNGRFU could host a regional tournament because it had done so before.

“The facilities are there and PNG has hosted before that is why we want to bring the Oceania championship to PNG,” he said.

Schuster said Oceania Rugby wanted to ensure regional tournaments could be delivered on an annual basis to provide competition pathways countries to qualify for the World Cup.”

Schuster said Oceania regional tournaments including the sevens championship were pathways through which a country could improve its world ranking and enter the qualification process for World Cups as well entry into the HSBC World Sevens Series.

“We’re also discussing with corporate partners in PNG to stage the Oceania tournaments.

“The host union will also benefit from having tier one sevens nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji coming to PNG.”

Schuster said exposing local talent could result in interest from professional clubs from Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

He said Tonga, Samoa and Fiji had benefited from having their players exported and wanted PNG and other Pacific nations to have the same opportunity.

PNGRFU’s Liri welcomed the news saying it was the result of the union’s goal for the Pukpuks to be more prominent in the region.

Liri said hosting international events was not easy but the PNGRFU had high goals.


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