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Preview for final match of ORC 2015
Oceania Rugby, Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:59PM
The PNG Pukpuks are in the box seat to claim the Oceania Rugby Cup, with only the Solomon Islands Hunters standing in their way in the final round at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, Port Moresby.
After beating Tahiti and American Samoa, the Pukpuks need only to draw against traditional rivals, Solomon Islands to take back the Oceania Rugby Cup following a heart breaking loss to the Cook Islands in 2013.
Despite the Hunters been winless thus far in the Tournament, Pukpuks coach Sydney Wesley isn't taking the Solomon Islanders lightly and says they were unlucky to lose their first two matches. " The Hunters have really played well, and their losses have just come down to a couple of moments in each game where American Samoa and Tahiti just got the bounce of the ball. They will be playing for pride and we would be foolish to underestimate them" says Wesley.
Young guns James Lumaris and skipper Tisa Kautu have been a revelation for the Pukpuks with their power in the mid - field and have provided the perfect platform for their flyers, Jacky Marcus and Jacob, to touch down in the corners during both rounds.
The Pukpuks though will face a heavier Solomon Islands pack who have been a handful for opposition teams. However, with structure and confidence growing in the young Pukspuks game, the home side will be favourites to come out on top.
The earlier match of the round will feature a Polynesian show down between American Samoa and Tahiti, with the winner most likely to claim second position.
With both sides preferring a more confrontational and physical approach, Sir Hubert Murray will not be a place for the faint hearted when these teams square off. Tahiti Manager, Charles Tauziet and his charges are looking forward to the challenge. " This will be the highest position for Tahiti in this Tournament if we beat American Samoa, so it is important for us to focus and play smartly, because the Samoans are hard to stop when they are on a roll". Despite their loss against the Pukpuks last week, the Talavalu have proved to be more than a worthy opponent with their rugged forward play and bruising defence. An area Tahiti will be keen to match.
Talavalu will be without their inspirational Captain, Bogdaw Tuiletufuga against Tahiti, with blockbusting No.8 Tavita Collins given the nod to lead his team against the tenacious Tahitians. " Tahiti are a dangerous team close to the line and are very strong in the scrum, so we have to really focus around these areas if we are to win" say Collins.
American Samoa coach, Leota Toma Patu further remarked on the importance of the last game and is aiming to finish the Tournament on a high. " We have really gained a lot here in PNG, and would like to end the tournament with a win. Tahiti are very well drilled team right across the field and will be hard to contain if we don't get the basics right".
2015 Oceania Rugby Cup Round 3 (Final)
1.00pm (PNG Time) American Samoa v Tahiti Referee, Kavenei Talemaivalagi (FIJI)
3.30pm (PNG Time) Papua New Guinea v Solomon Islands Referee, James Bolabiu (Fiji)
Last updated: Monday September 28, 2015 9:20PM