Rugby League | SPORTS

Papua New Guinea Kumuls Move Past Fiji Bati

Fiji National Rugby League acting Chief Executive Officer Don Natabe is optimistic about the prospects of international matches returning next year. This follows Papua New Guinea’s leapfrogging Fiji into fifth spot on the International Rugby League world rankings with the Fijian Batis dropping to sixth ahead of next year’s World Cup in England.
18 Dec 2021 13:50
Papua New Guinea Kumuls Move Past Fiji Bati
Fijian National Rugby League acting CEO, Don Natabe and Fijian Bati coach, Josaia Rabele.

Fiji National Rugby League acting Chief Executive Officer Don Natabe is optimistic about the prospects of international matches returning next year.

This follows Papua New Guinea’s leapfrogging Fiji into fifth spot on the International Rugby League world rankings with the Fijian Batis dropping to sixth ahead of next year’s World Cup in England.

“This is our ranking in the absence of international football. We’ve been working on improving our ranking since 2018, the pandemic has in the way of that,” Natabe said.

 

“We are conscious of the need to have international football happening, to build on international rankings for both men and women,” he said.

“We (Asia Pacific nations) are collaborating to get some mid-year internationals in 2022, and resume the marquee tournaments (Oceania Cup, Pacific Test, Northern Tour) in 2023.”

“Obviously, this has been disrupted due to the pandemic – the stringent border restrictions have been the most challenging hurdle.”

 

“We are optimistic about the prospects of international football returning in 2022; we have a good pool of young and senior players across both spheres that have shown tremendous consistency in advancing Fiji into the Oceania Cup.”

“The Kumuls are well respected in our sphere, if we are lucky the mid-year fixtures will see both teams play on June 25, 2022.”

IRL latest rankings also dropped World champions Australia from second to fourth, due to Corona virus impacted last two international seasons, while England and Tonga improved to second and third as New Zealand retained top spot.

 

Kumuls coach Michael Marum told The National on Tuesday that the announcement was a welcome news for his side leading up to the showpiece event.

“Obviously, it’s great news when your improving in the world rankings,” former SP Hunters coach Marum said.

“But the thing is, we have never played a game since the 2019 Test match against the visiting British Lions at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.”

 

“While we celebrate this achievement, it should not lure us into a false sense of security.”

“Regardless of the rankings, we need to compete hard in the World Cup and win games.”

“We can’t afford to be complacent.”

 

“We need to stay focused and work harder to improve in all aspects of our game.”

According to Natabe Fijian Bati coach Josaia Rabele is working with his staff to work on Fiji’s rankings in the next 12 months.

“The World Cup results will determine new rankings if we are unable to stage a mid-year test in Australia ahead of the RLWC 2021.”

 

Feedback: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total Energies
For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper