PREVIEW: Papua New Guinea v Wales

Super League ace Paul Aiton will feature at loose forward for PNG

Papua New Guinea are expected to finish top of Group C and the fact that they play three of their group games in Port Moresby is an advantage but Wales have a strong squad this year.


Papua New Guinea have not had the World Cups that they would have liked in recent times. In 2008, they lost all three group games to Australia, New Zealand and England which was expected while in 2013, they finished bottom of the group after being defeated by New Zealand, Samoa and France.

On the other hand, Wales played their first World Cup in 2013 since the tournament back in 1995 and they found it difficult. They lost all of their group games in the last World Cup, despite giving it a good dig with a strong team with Wigan Warriors prop Ben Flower, St George Illawarra star Tyson Frizell and Widnes Vikings hooker Lloyd White involved.


The PNG Kumuls have quite an inexperienced squad this year in terms of players who have played in a World Cup tournament previously. Paul Aiton, Ase Boas, Enoch Maki and David Mead all played in the 2013 World Cup for Papua New Guinea.

The Dragons have a little more experience in their squad than their opposition. They have got a younger squad this time around but seven players have previously played in a World Cup who are Ben Evans, Elliot Kear, Craig Kopczak, Rhodri Lloyd, Christiaan Roets, Matty Seamark and Rhys Williams.


The Kumuls have a lot of players to keep an eye out for but the two who stand-out are James Segeyaro and Paul Aiton. The two hookers are very good players with different playing styles and it will be interesting to see how they switch around in a couple of positions because they are big game stars.

The Dragons are more of a team and play better when they play together as a team. Morgan Knowles and Regan Grace were nominated for the Young Player of the Year award and they will look to make a powerful impact at the tournament.


David Mead will captain Papua New Guinea and has been given the No. 1 jersey while new Castleford Tigers signing Garry Lo will start on the left wing. Paul Aiton will start at loose forward with James Segeyaro and Kurt Baptiste coming off the bench.

PNG: 1. David Mead, 2. Justin Olam, 3. Kato Ottio, 4. Nene MacDonald, 5. Garry Lo, 6. Ase Boas, 7. Watson Boas, 8. Stanton Albert, 9. Wartovo Puara, 10. Luke Page, 11. Rhyse Martin, 12. Rod Griffin, 13. Paul Aiton. Subs: 14. Kurt Baptiste, 15. Willie Minoga, 16. James Segeyaro, 17. Enoch Maki. Reserves: 18. Lachlan Lam, 19. Stargroth Amean, 20. Wellington Albert, 21. Moses Meninga.

Salford Red Devils ace Craig Kopczak will lead Wales this autumn while London Broncos quartet Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Ben Evans and Michael Channing will feature for the Dragons. Grandson of Wales Rugby League legend Colin Dixon, Chester Butler, is also on the bench.

WALES: 1. Elliot Kear, 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Michael Channing, 4. Andrew Gay, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Courtney Davies, 7. Matt Seamark, 8. Craig Kopczak, 9. Steve Parry, 10. Phil Joseph, 11. Rhodri Lloyd, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Morgan Knowles. Subs: 14. Matty Fozard, 15. Sam Hopkins, 16. Ben Evans, 17. Chester Butler. Reserves: 18. Josh Ralph, 19. Dalton Grant, 20. Christiaan Roets, 21. Matthew Barron.


Papua New Guinea are the favourites to win the group so they are expected to beat a depleted Wales outfit as well. However, the Dragons will make it difficult in Port Moresby.

You can watch the game LIVE on Premier Sports at 6am (BST) on Saturday 28 October.

How do you see the game going? Who will win? Let us know in the comments below.

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