Papua New Guinea national rugby league team

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Papua New Guinea
Badge of Papua New Guinea team
Team information
Nickname The Kumuls
Governing body PNGRFL
Region Asia-Pacific
Head coach Michael Marum
Captain David Mead
Most caps

[Paul Aiton][Stanley Gene]

[John Wilshire](16)
Home stadium National Football Stadium
RLIF ranking 10th
First colours
Team results
First game
 England 40–12 Papua New Guinea 
(Port Moresby, PNG; 6 July 1975)
Biggest win
 Papua New Guinea 64–0 United States 
(Port Moresby, PNG; 12 November 2017)
Biggest defeat
 Australia 82–0 Papua New Guinea 
(Townsville, Australia; 7 October 2000)
World Cup
Appearances 7 (first time in 1985–1988)
Best result Quarter-finals, 2000, 2017

The Papua New Guinea national rugby league team represents Papua New Guinea in the sport of rugby league football.

In Papua New Guinea, Rugby League is a highly popular sport and is regarded as the country’s national sport. The national side are known as the Kumuls ("birds-of-paradise" in Tok Pisin). Many Papua New Guinean players have left the country in order to pursue professional rugby league careers in Great Britain, France and Australia.

A team representing Papua New Guinea (generally made up of a mixture of locally based players and fringe NRL Players) plays an Australian Prime Minister's XIII in an annual match in Port Moresby at the Lloyd Robson Oval. The Australian side consists mostly of players from the premier competition the National Rugby League (NRL), whose teams have not made the top eight NRL finals.


Rugby league in Papua New Guinea was first played in the late forties; it was introduced to the nation by Australian soldiers stationed there during and after the Second World War. Papua New Guinea were admitted to the game’s International Federation in 1974. On 6 July 1975, at Lloyd Robson Oval, in Port Moresby the Kumuls played their first ever international. They were beaten 40-12 by England. The English team were en route to Australia and New Zealand to fulfil away fixtures during the 1975 World Cup.

They first entered the Rugby League World Cup for the 1985-89 competition, though it was not until 2000 that they won away from home. In 1987 The Kumuls stage their first full test playing tour of Britain, after playing BARLA opposition in 1979. They lost the test 42-0 at Central Park, Wigan.

On Tuesday 20 October 1987, Cumbria met Papua New Guinea before a crowd of 3,750 at the Recreation Ground, Whitehaven. Cumbria won 22-4. Four days later Papua New Guinea played a World Cup rated Test against Great Britain.

During the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia a Test match was played at Port Moresby. Later that year Papua New Guinea played a World Cup match against Australia in Wagga Wagga, the Kangaroos recording a then international record winning margin of 62 points with a 70-8 win. Australian winger Michael O'Connor crossed for four tries and kicked seven goals for a personal points haul of 30, which could have been 44 had he not missed seven kicks at goal. In 1991 Papua New Guinea played host to a touring Great Britain, the series ended in a 1-1 draw.

On Sunday 27 October 1991, Papua New Guinea met Wales at Vetch Field, Swansea. Roared on by a fervent crowd of 11,422; Wales won by a record 68-0 margin, scoring thirteen tries. Papua New Guinea never recovered and lost all five matches in Britain, conceding 232 points in the process, and won only one of their four matches in France.

Papua New Guinea wound up their 1991 tour of Europe with a World Cup rated Test match against France, which was played on Sunday 24 November at the Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne. Despite Papua New Guinea leading 8-4 at half-time; France defeated their visitors 28-14.

The Kumuls hosted Australia for a two test series in October 1991 (won 2-0 by the Kangaroos), and also hosted Great Britain during the 1992 Lions tour of Australasia.

Papua New Guinea travelled to England to compete in the 1995 World Cup under coach Joe Tokam and captain Adrian Lam.[1] In their group was Tonga and New Zealand, against whom they failed to win a match.

In 1996 Bob Bennett, brother of the famous Wayne Bennett, was appointed the Kumuls' coach.[2] Also, in 1996, Adrian Lam captained the 'Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Team' against the Australian Kangaroos (52-6 win to Australia). Bob Bennett coached the 2000 World Cup Kumuls team to the qualification two the pool were the kumuls made it into the top 5 team in the world so the 2000 World Cup Kumuls team was granted the best kumuls team. In 2005 Papua New Guinea beat the Australian Prime Minister's XIII 24-16 in Darwin. This was the first win over any Australian based national side. In 2007 Papua New Guinea drew with Australia PM XIII 24-24.

They were granted automatic qualification to the 2008 World Cup but were placed in a pool with the top three teams, Australia, New Zealand and England, and failed to win a match in the tournament.

2010 controversy

The Papua New Guinea team experienced huge difficulties leading to the 2010 Rugby League Four Nations Tournament, as politicians clashed for control over the game and the governing body, the PNGRFL, was split over issues concerning junior development, the national team and the Papua New Guinea NRL bid. This caused Adrian Lam to retire as head coach of the Kumuls in September 2010[3][4] while recently retired captain Stanley Gene, who had never coached a side before, was named his replacement.[5] The governing board were adamant that more Papua New Guinea-based players should be in the squad, and fewer Australia-based players should be picked. In early October the squad was announced for the tournament and consisted of 12 PNG-based players with captain Paul Aiton being the only NRL player.[6] Whilst the Australian team for the tournament was worth an estimated A$10 million, local newspapers calculated the Kumuls value at around A$670,000.

Despite the Australian media treating the defeat of the Papua New Guinean team as a mere formality, with the team having odds of 125-1 to win the tournament, the players and journalists at home were positive that the Kumuls could make a lasting impression in the tournament.[7] After their first up 42-0 defeat against Australia, the team's enthusiasm and crunching tackles were praised, but ball control and creativity let the team down hugely.[8] However the team faced much more criticism after their 76-12 thrashing suffered at the hands of New Zealand, with fans angry at the poor display from the players[9] and some questioning the credentials of new coach Stanley Gene.[10] Days after the match a broader look at the sport in the country occurred with one assessment concluding that rugby league was poorly managed[11] and former PNG great Marcus Bai called on clubs to supply a greater number of representative standard players especially from the New Guinea Islands region which had supplied five of this year's team.[12] The way politics had made its way into the governing of the sport was also condemned.[13]

Return To Redfern

On 9 February 2013, Papua New Guinea played a trial game against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, at Redfern Oval. They lost 38-12.

2015 Pacific Rugby League Test

In May 2015, Papua New Guinea took on Fiji in the 2015 Melanesian Cup at Cbus Super Stadium. The International was part of a triple header which also included the Polynesian Cup, between Samoa and Tonga, and the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. The Kumuls never really troubled the Fijians after handling errors and poor decisions led to the Bati easily winning the inaugural Melanesian Cup by 22-10.

2016 Pacific Rugby League Test

In May 2016, Papua New Guinea took on Fiji in the 2016 Melanesian Cup at Pirtek Stadium. The International was part of a triple header which also included the Polynesian Cup, between Samoa and Tonga, and the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. In this year's test, the Kumuls had more experienced players and it paid off. Despite being in a similar situation with the half time score, they managed to make a miraculous comeback not many saw coming, to record their first win 24-22 on away shores since the 2000 World Cup.

2017 Pacific Rugby League Test

The PNG Kumuls won their second consecutive Pacific Cup test victory with a 32-22 victory over the Cook Islands at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

Current squad

The Papua New Guinea national team squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[14]

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
Fullback David Mead (c) (1988-11-04) 4 November 1988 (age 29) 13 36 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons
Fullback Stargroth Amean (1991-03-09) 9 March 1991 (age 27) 5 12 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Wing Garry Lo (1993-11-01) 1 November 1993 (age 24) 5 16 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
Wing Justin Olam (1993-12-23) 23 December 1993 (age 24) 6 24 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm
Centre Nene Macdonald (1994-05-11) 11 May 1994 (age 24) 9 20 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons
Centre Thompson Teteh (1989-07-12) 12 July 1989 (age 28) 4 4 Redcliffe colours.svg Redcliffe Dolphins
Five-eighth Ase Boas (vc) (1988-12-26) 26 December 1988 (age 29) 6 22 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Five-eighth Lachlan Lam (1998-03-25) 25 March 1998 (age 20) 1 8 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters
Halfback Watson Boas (1994-11-08) 8 November 1994 (age 23) 6 16 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Prop Stanton Albert (1995-09-15) 15 September 1995 (age 22) 5 4 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings
Prop Wellington Albert (1994-09-03) 3 September 1994 (age 23) 5 8 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings
Prop Enoch Maki (1991-12-09) 9 December 1991 (age 26) 4 0 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Prop Luke Page (1991-01-12) 12 January 1991 (age 27) 7 0 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Burleigh Bears
Hooker James Segeyaro (1990-11-11) 11 November 1990 (age 27) 4 4 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Hooker Kurt Baptiste (1991-03-15) 15 March 1991 (age 27) 5 0 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions
Hooker Wartovo Puara Jr (1990-06-24) 24 June 1990 (age 27) 6 8 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Second-row Rhyse Martin (1993-03-01) 1 March 1993 (age 25) 7 42 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Second-row Rod Griffin (1987-01-05) 5 January 1987 (age 31) 13 12 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Second-row Willie Minoga (1987-09-17) 17 September 1987 (age 30) 6 0 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Second-row Nixon Put (1991-09-04) 4 September 1991 (age 26) 2 4 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters
Lock Paul Aiton (1985-05-29) 29 May 1985 (age 32) 16 12 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons
Lock Moses Meninga (1993-06-06) 6 June 1993 (age 24) 2 0 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg PNG Hunters

Notable players

Tournament history

World Cup

World Cup record
Year Round Position GP W L D
19541977 Did not participate
AustralasiaFranceUnited Kingdom 1985–88 Fourth place 4/5 8 2 6 0
AustralasiaFranceUnited Kingdom 1989–92 Fifth place 5/5 8 0 8 0
United Kingdom 1995 Group stage 6/10 2 0 1 1
FranceUnited Kingdom 2000 Quarter-finals 6/16 4 3 1 0
Australia 2008 Group stage 10/10 3 0 3 0
EnglandWales 2013 Group stage 13/14 3 0 3 0
AustraliaNew ZealandPapua New Guinea 2017 Quarter-finals 5/14 4 3 1 0
England 2021 Qualified
CanadaUnited States 2025 To be determined
Total 0 Titles 32 8 23 1

Tri-Nations / Four Nations

Tri-Nations / Four Nations record
Year Round Position GP W L D
19992006 Did not participate
AustraliaNew Zealand 2010 Fourth place 4/4 3 0 3 0
20112016 Did not participate
Total 0 Titles 1/9 3 0 3 0

Pacific Cup

Pacific Cup record
Year Round Position GP W L D
Papua New Guinea 1975 Runners-up 2/4 4 2 2 0
New Zealand 1977 Third place 3/5 4 2 2 0
Cook Islands 1986 Did not participate
Samoa 1986
Tonga 1990 Group stage 5/8 3 1 2 0
New Zealand 1992 Did not participate
Fiji 1994
New Zealand 1997 Third place 3/6 4 2 2 0
New Zealand 2004 Did not participate
New Zealand 2006
Papua New Guinea 2009 Champions 1/5 2 2 0 0
Total 1 Title 5/12 6 4 2 0

Pacific Rugby League test

Pacific Rugby League Test record / Melanesian Cup
Year Round Position GP W L D
2015 Second place 2/2 1 0 1 0
2016 First place 1/2 1 1 0 0
2017 First place 1/2 1 1 0 0
Total 3/3 3 2 1 0

Past results

Country Matches Won Drawn Lost
 Australia 12 0 0 12
 Cook Islands 2 2 0 0
 England 4 0 0 4
 Fiji 6 4 0 2
 France 14 4 1 9
 Great Britain 8 1 0 7
 Ireland 1 1 0 0
 New Zealand 18 1 0 17
 Samoa 1 0 0 1
 South Africa 1 1 0 0
 Tonga 8 7 1 0
 United States 1 1 0 0
 Wales 4 1 0 3
Total 80 23 2 55
Official Rankings as of December 2017
Rank Change Team Points
1 Same position  Australia
2  New Zealand
3  England
4 Rise  Tonga
5  Fiji
6 Fall  Samoa
7  Scotland
8  France
9 Rise  Lebanon
10  Papua New Guinea
11 Fall  Ireland
12  Wales
13  Italy
14  United States
15  Jamaica
16  Serbia
17  Canada
18  Malta
19 Same position  Russia
20  Belgium
21  Spain
22  Norway
23  Greece
24 Rise  Philippines
25 Same position  Ukraine
26  Czech Republic
27  Netherlands
28  Germany
29  Hungary
30 Fall  Cook Islands
31  Sweden
32 Rise  Chile
33 Fall  Niue
34  Denmark
35  South Africa
36  Vanuatu
37 Rise  El Salvador
38 Fall  Thailand
39 New entry  Argentina
40  Colombia
41  Japan
42 Fall  Solomon Islands
43 New entry  Brazil
44 Fall  Uruguay
45 New entry  Hong Kong
46 Fall  Bulgaria
47  Latvia
48  Morocco

Other Papua New Guinean teams

  • PNG Prime Minister's XIII - Development side to consist of local based players and only three international players, used to play both national and development sides.
  • PNG President XIII - PNGRFL 'select' usually playing another development side like Junior Kangaroos or New Zealand A. Rarely used to play national sides.
  • PNG Residents- Papua New Guinea development side made up of solely local players. Regularly playing matches with the Junior Kangaroos, New Zealand Māoris and even national sides.
  • Papua New Guinea Kundus - Papua New Guinea Junior U/18 schoolboys side.

- Recently played QLD U18 as a curtain raiser to Origin I. The QLD U/18 def. Kundus 20-16. The team is captained by Wayne Bond

Participated tournaments

See also


  1. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1995-10-08). "Island gods high in a dream world". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  2. ^ Hadfield, David (1996-09-14). "Eagles to share United's roost". Independent, The. UK: Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  3. ^ Sydney Morning Herald - Adrian Lam Quits As PNG Coach
  4. ^ The Australian - Lam Quits As PNG Coach
  5. ^ Four Nations Official Website - Stanley Gene Returns As Kumuls Coach
  6. ^ Sydney Morning Herald - PNG Squad Announced
  7. ^ The National - PNG Out Of Their Depth?
  8. ^ The National - Kumuls Need More Work Before NRL
  9. ^ Facebook - Kumuls v Kiwis
  10. ^ The National - Disgraceful Display By Kumuls
  11. ^ The National - Rugby League Poorly Managed
  12. ^ The National - Marcus Bai Challenges Agmark Gurias
  13. ^ Weekend Post Courier - Politics In Rugby Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Kangaroos World Cup squad announced". 3 October 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Papua New Guinea national rugby league team on Facebook
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