World Cup Preview: Papua New Guinea v Samoa

Papua New Guinea and Samoa face-off in a must-win World Cup tie at Craven Park, Hull tonight.

After both Pacific Islands sides lost their opening matches of the tournament, a defeat in east Yorkshire would seriously dent any hopes of progression from Group B.

This is especially the case for the Kumuls – who have yet to face defending champions New Zealand – but playmaker Ray Thompson is in an optimistic mood.

He said, “Obviously we were a bit disappointed with the result against France but there are still a lot of positives to take out of that game.

“It means we go into training with a bit of confidence and we know the areas that we need to improve. For us it has been so far, so good.”

There is one change to the PNG squad with Sebastien Pandia coming in for Wellington Albert.

Meanwhile Samoa, who caught the imagination with a stirring second-half performance against the Kiwis, are again without captain Harrison Hansen due to injury.

Also missing are stand-off Rene Maitua and new Bradford signing Frank Winterstein, who has undergone an operation that will keep him out for the rest of the tournament.

Samoan forward Mark Taufua is enjoying the World Cup experience, and is hoping it can continue into the latter rounds.

“It is really good over here,” said Taufua. “For a lot of us it is our first time in England and we are all really enjoying it.

“In a tournament like this, every game is like a semi-final and hopefully we can stay a bit longer than what a lot of people have had us down for.”

Papua New Guinea: Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby Vipers), Paul Aiton (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Dion Aiye (Rabaul Gurias), Ase Boas (Rabaul Gurias), Jason Chan (Huddersfield Giants), Neville Costigan (Newcastle Knights), Israel Eliab (Port Moresby Vipers), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby Vipers), Enoch Maki (Mendi Muruks), Larsen Marabe (Orange CYMS), Nene McDonald (Sydney Roosters), David Mead (Gold Coast Titans), Mark Mexico (Lae Tigers), Jessie Joe Nandye (Whitehaven), Sebastien Pandia (Port Moresby Vipers), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen Eagles), Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys), Charlie Wabo (Mendi Muruks), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)

Samoa: Leeson Ah Mau (St George Illawarra Dragons), David Fa’alogo (Newcastle Knights), Pita Godinet (New Zealand Warriors), Tim Lafai (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Joseph Leilua (Newcastle Knights), Penani Manumeasili (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Mose Masoe (Penrith Panthers), Suaia Matagi (New Zealand Warriors), Anthony Milford (Canberra Raiders), Junior Moors (Melbourne Storm), Ben Roberts (Parramatta Eels), Junior Sa’u (Melbourne Storm), Michael Sio (New Zealand Warriors), Iosia Soliola (St Helens), Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers), Mark Taufua (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Daniel Vidot (St George Illawarra Dragons), Antonio Winterstein (Brisbane Broncos).

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