Young Wontoks eye the Junior World Rugby Trophy
The PNG young Wontoks will play for Oceania and aim to get their hands on the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2009, which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya from April 21 to May 3. The key international tournament, featuring teams at Under 20 level from eight Unions, will comprise two pools of four teams with matches played across two venues in the city.
Coming off their impressive run at this years Oceania under 19s in Fiji, the PNG side is oozing with talent and keen to unleash their own style in this world event. PNG hooker and machine Boe Vaieke will be in the centre from his key position, he was devastating in the Oceania games and this team has no shortage of courage to back him up. Playing with hearts like basketballs they run with zest, but more importantly in straight lines, they are fearless in the tackle and at every chance will counter attack from anywhere on the park. This play and style will entertain the spectators, as well as severely challenge every team they meet on this journey.
The USA, relegated from this year’s IRB Junior World Championship in Wales, top Pool A and are joined by hosts Kenya and regional qualifiers Namibia (CAR) and the Cayman Islands (NAWIRA). It is the first time that the Cayman Islands, winners of the NAWIRA regional qualification tournament in Barbados, have qualified for an IRB 15-a-side tournament.
Chile, who were runners-up at the inaugural IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy on home soil in April 2008, top Pool B where they are joined by Romania (FIRA-AER), Korea (ARFU) and Papua New Guinea (FORU).
The action kicks off on April 21 with four mouthwatering matches. Oceania champions Papua New Guinea take on Romania at 12:00 local time in the first of a double-header of fixtures at the Impala ground, before Cayman Islands face the USA at 14:00. At the nearby Rugby Football Union of East Africa Ground, Chile kick off their Pool B campaign against Korea at 14:00, while hosts Kenya will entertain Africa rivals Namibia at 16:00.
Two further rounds of pool matches will be played to determine the rankings for the final and positional play-offs on May 3.
“The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2009 in Kenya looks set to be a wonderful tournament. In addition to delivering a blend of superb playing and training facilities, the Kenya Rugby Football Union are committed to the activation of a dedicated legacy programme that will not only be of benefit to the Rugby Community in Kenya, but across the whole of Africa,” explained IRB Tournaments Manager Philippe Bourdarias.
“The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy is now firmly established as a key player and coach development tool. The IRB looks forward to welcoming the teams and travelling fans to Nairobi in April for what promises to be an exciting tournament.”
PNG carry the hopes of Oceania with them and don’t be surprised if they are in the hunt come finals time.