First-half blitz gives Papua New Guinea comfortable win over Fiji

Papua New Guinea Kumuls hooker and captain James Segeyaro

Four tries in the first half helped Papua New Guinea put Fiji to bed as they won the opening Pacific Test clash 26-14.

It took 13 minutes for the Kumuls to open the scoring, with debutant winger Junior Rau crossing.

Rau was a late selection after Nene Macdonald was forced to withdraw due to injury.

They soon went back-to-back, as captain James Segeyaro found prop Luke Page who spun his way over to score.

There was a chance for a third try but a knock-on ended that chance.

Further points were soon added, though, as Rhyse Martin slotted a penalty goal to put the Kumuls up 14-0.

Fiji would pull one try back in the first half; Tyrone Phillips capitalising on a Richard Pandia error.

That momentum was halted, though, as Rau scored a second and Justin Olam scored under the posts after a Segeyaro break.

Fiji were able to pull two tries back for some respectability; one to Marcelo Montoya and another to Suliasi Vunivalu but it was not enough.

The win was the Kumuls second consecutive win over the Fijian side.

With the game being Matt Adamson’s first in charge, Fiji will be left to rue their chances.

The Kumuls motivation to win was high, honouring their fallen team-mate Kato Ottio.

“It gave us a bit more motivation to go out there and do well for the country and for the family of Kato,” PNG coach Michael Marum said.

“It was a great team effort today. They have a strong side and we knew it was going to be tough.

“We had a really great first half, putting on a few points there, and our defensive effort in the second half was really outstanding.”

Despite the loss, Adamson’s primary point for his Fiji side was calling for more Tests at more convenient times.

“We need to have the opportunity to bring these guys back,” Adamson said.

“It means so much to these kids to represent their country.

“[Kevin] was resisting tears, just absolutely breaking down there that it could possibly be his last Test.”

In the end, a poor first half cost the Fiji Bati side and Adamson lamented his side for that.

“We need to have the opportunity to bring these guys back,” Adamson said.

“It means so much to these kids to represent their country.

“[Kevin] was resisting tears, just absolutely breaking down there that it could possibly be his last Test.”

Player of the Game:

3. James Segeyaro

2. Junior Rau

  1. Luke Page

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