If you had asked anyone prior to the game, ‘would Papua New Guinea win by 44 points,’ you might have been scoffed at or laughed at.
However, after what was nothing short of a breathtaking display, the Papua New Guineans put on a clinic from start to finish as they overpowered and outmanoeuvred a Welsh side who failed to keep up.
In front of a sell-out crowd of screaming, passionate Papua New Guinea fans, the humid conditions played right into their hands as they won 50-6 on the back of a David Mead hat-trick.
Although Wales did well to hold onto the ball, it was their lack of the killer punch that cost them and as Papua New Guinea began to assert dominance, they ended up with 62% of possession in the game.
The NRL experience in the Papua New Guinea side was on show as Mead, James Segeyaro, Nene Macdonald and Kurt Baptiste all had good games, guiding their side to victory.
The one sour note for Papua New Guinea was a biting allegation against Wellington Albert, with Welsh player Ben Evans making an official complaint.
As Papua New Guinea continued to assert their dominance with big hits, sturdy defence and huge attacking plays, the major talking point was David Mead and Rhyse Martin.
Mead became the first Papua New Guinean player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup and Rhyse Martin – with his 2 tries and 3 goals – now holds the record for the most points in a match by a Papua New Guinean player.
As the final hooter sounded, Wales got on the board after a fumble in defence that saw Regan Grace scoop the ball up to score.
Welsh coach John Kear was blunt in his assessment of his side’s performance; they were taught a harsh lesson.
“I think it’s been a very harsh lesson,” Kear said.
“The southern hemisphere fellas really do carry the ball very aggressively and, if you don’t stand up to that, you end up getting rolled and losing field position.
“We just never got any opportunity to attack because we couldn’t prevent the roll on from Papua New Guinea.”
Player of the Game:
3. David Mead
2. Rhyse Martin
- Wellington Albert
PNG Kumuls 50 (Mead 3, Martin 2, MacDonald, Ottio, W Albert, Olam, Aiton tries; Martin 5 goals) defeated Wales 6 (Grace try; Davies goal) at Oil Search National Football Stadium. Crowd: 14,800.