Post Match Review ORC 2015 Final

Oceania Rugby, Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:58PM

The PNG Pukspuks were crowned 2015 Oceania Rugby Cup Champions after soundly defeating the Solomon Islands 58 - 9 in front of jubilant home crowd at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.

The hometown heroes however were served an early fright when Hunters fullback Chris Saru latched on to a loose ball in broken play to open the scoreboard with a try in the opening minutes. Baying for more blood, the Hunters had the Pukspuks on the back foot in the first quarter with their big men stringing phase after phase against a seemingly nervous home side. A penalty conversion to halfback Nigel Genia mid way the opening half provided the calming effect needed for his Pukpuks to recalibrate. And calibrate they did. A barnstorming try by dynamic Rabbie Namaliu shortly after pryed opened the gates for the Pukspuks to pounce. Tries to Butler Morris and Wesley Vali soon followed and had the visitors reeling.

The backrow trio of Kelegai, Galo and Morris for the home side were simply unstoppable at the gain line with their blockbusting surges through traffic and paved the way for the Pukpuks. Saru struck again in the second half for a double following a clean break by Hunters outside centre Viv Kelesi, however the damage had already been done. Outside centre Lumaris continued to impress and kept the Hunters backline on their toes at every touch. Top points scorer of the Tournament, Nigel Genia, was invaluable for the Pukpuks and proved his worth throughout the rounds with his steady distribution and kicking kept the Pukpuks ahead of the pack.

The Hunters were awarded a penalty try in the late stages of the match, following a dangerous tackle by Pukpuks fullback Libert Suang, which was some consolation for the Solomon Islanders who played valiantly despite being winless in the Tournament.

In the earlier match, Tahiti recorded their highest ranking at the Oceania Rugby Cup by beating American Samoa for second place 20 - 9. The Tahitians were too strong against the American Samoans, who failed to find the form they showed against the Solomon Islands and Pukpuks. Captain Ralph Teriitaohia led his young pack valiantly against the physical Samoans and was awarded with his first International try late in the second half. Scrum half Guillaume Broqui was dynamic from the base and kept the Tahitians on the front foot.

Replacement skipper for the American Samoans, Dave Collins was courageous for the Talavalu and continued to be handful for opposition with ball in hand. Tahiti however proved the more polished of the two sides and were deserved winners in the end.

Last updated: Wednesday October 28, 2015 8:04PM