2017 Rugby League World Cup - Papua New Guinea vs Wales Preview

The Lowdown

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • Papua New Guinea will be hoping some passionate support on home soil can be the boost they need to help them claim their first World Cup win in seven attempts.
  • PNG boast some talented players with captain David Mead adored by the locals. James Segeyaro and Paul Aiton are also standout names who will be looking to lead some up-and-coming youngsters.
  • The Kumuls are the favourites to win this group but know a quick start is important with only the group winners qualifying for the quarter-finals in this group of three teams.

Head Coach: Michael Marum

Team: Mead; Olam, Ottio, MacDonald, Lo; A. Boas, W. Boas; Albert, Puara, Page, Martin, Griffin, Aiton

Bench: Baptiste, Minoga, Segeyaro, Maki

WALES

  • John Kear leads an inexperienced looking Wales side into the World Cup more in hope than anything else with them possessing one of the weakest looking squads in the competition.
  • Morgan Knowles and Regan Grace enjoyed a strong season for St Helens and were both nominated for Super League's Young Player of the Year award.
  • Salford's Craig Kopczak again captains his side like he did in 2013 but has a lot resting on his shoulders with his side lacking in terms of genuine quality.

Head Coach: John Kear

Team: Kear; Williams, Channing, Gay, Grace; Davies, Seamark; Kopczak, Parry, Joseph, Lloyd, Morris, Knowles

Bench: Fozard, Hopkins, Evans, Butler

Analysis - what to expect
Wales have not won a World Cup match since 2000 and they travel to Port Moresby where PNG will be vehemently supported. They have some talented youngsters in their ranks for this tournament, but they face an uphill task against the Kumuls who should have too much quality for them. John Kear's men will be content to just contain their opponents for as long as possible.