World Cup Report: Papua New Guinea 8-9 France

William Barthau‘s drop-goal proved the only difference between France and Papua New Guinea, after a lung-bursting 80 minutes at MS3 Craven Park.

Fellow half-back Thomas Bosc provided the rest of France‘s points in the 9-8 victory, with the Kumuls left to rue a number of missed opportunities.

Full-back David Mead was the main culprit, as he hooked what seemed a simple last-minute penalty wide of the posts.

Although the majority of the 7,500 crowd in east Hull were behind the Islanders, it was France who got off to the perfect start, as Bosc proved too strong for the PNG defence after stepping off his left foot.

The stand-off converted to give the French a 6-nil lead, but the wet and windy conditions suited the Kumuls style, and as the game wore on their powerful forwards were able to build a platform for their own impressive halves Ray Thompson and Ase Boas.

In the 17th minute Thompson found a gap, and in somewhat fortuitous circumstances his offload hit Israel Eliab‘s head, before a French defender fumbled to gift Nene McDonald an easy try.

Mead’s poor day with the boot began as he missed the resulting conversion attempt, and with heavy downpours producing handling errors on both sides, the scoreline remained 6-4 in favour of France as the half-time hooter sounded.

The second-half began with PNG in the ascendancy, and after only two minutes they were in front for the first time, as slick handling on the their left edge gave winger Josiah Abavu a clear run on the try-line.

After Mead again failed to add the extras, the Islanders then enjoyed a number of consecutive attacking sets, but importantly ‘Les Chanticleers’ kept them out.

Bosc then struck a 56th minute 40-20, and soon after, in what was his team’s first real spell of second-half pressure, he levelled the scores with a penalty.

The fatigue of both sides was visible, but France seemed to have a little bit more in the tank, and with 15 minutes remaining they hit the front again thanks to Barthau’s drop-goal.

Solid defence followed from Richard Agar’s men, and when they did have a dramatic late lapse in concentration, the luckless Mead could not take advantage.


Papua New Guinea: 1. David Mead, 2. Josiah Abavu, 3. Menzie Yere, 4. Israel Eliab, 5. Nene McDonald, 6. Ray Thompson, 7. Ase Boas, 8. Mark Mexico, 9. Paul Aiton, 10. Enoch Maki, 11. Dion Aiye, 12. Jason Chan, 13. Neville Costigan. Interchanges: 14. Charlie Wabo, 15. Richard Kambo, 16. Jessie Joe Nandye, 17. Larsen Marabe.

France: 1. Morgan Escare, 2. Frederic Vaccari, 3. Jean-Philippe Baile, 4. Vincent Duport, 5. Clint Greenshields, 6. Thomas Bosc, 7. William Barthau, 8. Jamal Fakir, 9. Eloi Pelissier, 10. Remi Casty, 11. Kevin Larroyer, 12. Sebastian Raguin, 13. Gregory Mounis. Interchanges: 14. Theo Fages, 15. Olivier Elima, 16. Benjamin Garcia, 17. Mickael Simon.

Papua New Guinea scorers: Tries – Nene McDonald, Josiah Abavu.

France scorers: Try – Thomas Bosc. Goals: Thomas Bosc 2. Drop-goal: William Barthau

Referee: Ben Cummins.

Venue: Craven Park, Hull.

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