Papua New Guinea
Local Name: Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini (Tok Pisin) / Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini (Hiri Motu)
Team Name: PNG Kumuls
Colours: Red, Yellow, Black
Home Stadium: National Football Stadium
First WC Appearance: 1985-88
No. Of RLWC Titles: 0
Governing Body: PNGRFL
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The Papua New Guinea Kumuls are sure to quickly become a firm favourite of any rugby fan who watches them play as there explosive all action style of play really is a joy to watch.
Although they are one of the smaller nations who play rugby league they are blessed with many of the games great players and with a number of the Papa New Guinea players plying their trade in the NRL and the Super League, they will be a match for anybody.
Paul Aiton (Wakefield Trinity, Leeds Rhinos, Catalans Dragons), James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers, Leeds Rhinos), David Mead (Catalans Dragons, Brisbane Broncos) and Rhyse Martin (Canterbury Bulldogs, Leeds Rhinos) have shown the quality that Papua New Guinea can produce and now that there is a much-improved pathway to professional Rugby League for players from PNG, there is a strong possibility that the frequency of these stars increases which will take PNG to the next level.
There is now a professional Rugby League in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea, called the PNG Hunters who play in the Australian Queensland Cup, just 1 level below the NRL. This allows players from PNG to train in a full-time environment, play against a high-quality level of opponent and of course get noticed by the big teams from Australia. This has led to a number of players making the move over to Australia and has built up the exposure of the sport throughout PNG with Hunters matches shown live on TV and their matches are played in front of big crowds at the National Stadium.
With so many of the Kumuls teams playing for the Hunters, they have a unity and comradery that many national test sides just cannot match.
Papua New Guinea Kumuls
Papua New Guinea is the only nation in the world that has Rugby League as its official national sport so its probably so surprise that since first entering the Rugby League World Cup in 1985 they have been ever presents.
Colours and Kit
The playing kit is always an easy one to post as it features the yellow, red, and black of the PNG flag. The style of the kit does change from major tournament to major tournament but it tends to be a mostly yellow shirt that features a red chevron across the chest with red shorts and black and red socks.
Papua New Guinea have enjoyed limited success on the international stage in terms of titles and trophies with only a solidary Pacific Cup win in 2009 to their name but they have made it through to the knock out stages of the World Cup on a number of occasions and they qualified for the 2010 Four Nations.
As the only country in the world where the sport of Rugby League is the national sport, it is no surprise that the country has produced a number of stars names. The majority of these have had to leave the country to join Australian/New Zealand teams to really developed but now that the Hunters allow players to stay in the country and play professionally, the new opportunities should see lots of new stars developed.
On the back of strong international appearances, especially at the RLWC, a number of players have qualified for British work visas and have grace the sport over here.
There have also been a number of players born in Australia and New Zealand to Papua New Guinean parents who have represented their heritage with pride.
Amongst the biggest stars to represent PNG on the international stage have been Makali Aizue, Marcus Bai, Ngala Lapan, Aquila Emil, Kungas Kuveu, Darius Haili, Alan Rero, Stanley Gene, David Mead, John Wilshire, James Segeyaro, Adrian Lam, Lachlan Lam, Bai Umapo, Justin Olam, Xavier Coates, Alex Johnstone, Neville Costigan, Rhyse Martin and Nene Macdonald.
Rugby League in Papua New Guinea has an incredibly long history going back to the 1940’s when Australian solders based in the country introduced it.
From there, the sport has continued to develop and grow to where it is the national sport, so it was no surprise that PNG were admitted into the sports International Federation in 1974.
Soon after, they hosted England in Port Moresby for their first ever international and whilst they lost by 12-40, it showed the quality that they had and it also showed the great support of the sport in the country.
They made their RLWC bow in the 1985-88 competition that was held across the globe and although back then and to this very day, they continue to be a huge challenge for anybody at home, away from the country they have struggled for big wins.
Arguably the biggest win in the countries Rugby League history came in 2019 when they welcomed Great Britain to their new and impressive home stadium in the capital city of Port Moresby.
Britain headed to PNG on the back of a disappointing tour but nobody expected PNG to have much of a chance but they showed just how determined they can be and how much quality they have at their disposal as they ran out comfortable 28-10 winners.
Papua New Guinea a country known for their pride in the shirt and for giving everything on the field including huge hits and big hit ups but they also play with lots of skill so it is no surprise that they have lots of support form Rugby league fans across the globe.