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PNG to play Tonga, Wales, Cook Islands at World Cup
9:34 pm GMT+12, 20/01/2020, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea have been drawn in Group D for next year’s rugby league World Cup in England.

The Kumuls will take on world number four nation Tonga as well as Wales and the Cook Islands.

The PNG Rugby Football League is expected to make an official announcement this week on the draw as well as its preparations for the event with the top two nations from each of the four pools to advance to the finals.

The draws for the 16-nation tournament were conducted by Prince Harry at the Buckingham Palace in London, England last Thursday.

The tournament which will run from 23 Oct to 27 Nov next year will see host nation England in Group A will take on Samoa in the opener with France and Greece the other teams in group.

Defending champions and 11-time world champions Australia leads Group B with Fiji, Scotland and Italy while world number one New Zealand have been drawn alongside Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland in Group C.

The Kumuls, who have jumped four places in the world rankings from 10th to 6th after their historic 28-10 win over Great Britain in Port Moresby last year will face Wales who are ranked 14th which will see them meet for the second consecutive world cup group match.

Wales were humiliated 50-6 by the Kumuls in the 2017 World Cup group match played at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

This will be the third time the Kumuls are drawn in same group with world No.4 Tonga in a world cup as both countries played each other in the 1995 World Cup in Hull, England where they drew 28-28 and in 2000 World Cup in Toulouse, France, which PNG won 30-22.

The Cook Islands who are ranked 23rd in the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) world rankings will make their World Cup return after missing out in 2017. They will face the might of the Kumuls for the first time at a World Cup.

According to the RLIF the full schedules of the matches will be released in the coming months.
Kumuls coach Michael Marum told The National on Friday that he was yet to receive an official draw from the RLIF and that he would only comment after receiving it.

2021 World Cup Groups: A – England, Samoa, France, Greece; B – Australia, Fiji, Scotland, Italy; C – New Zealand, Lebanon, Jamaica, Ireland; D – Tonga, PNG, Wales, Cook Islands.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS


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