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PNG Kumuls Team for Pacific Championships

The Papua New Guinea Rugby League (PNGRFL) CEO, Mr. Stanley Hondina together with PNG LNG Kumuls Chairman, Wapu Sonk in a press release, announced the 21-person squads for the upcoming Pacific Championships this October – November 2023. Papua New Guinea will participate with the PNG LNG Kumuls and the Santos PNG Orchids, playing matches in Port Moresby. 

The teams under Head Coaches Justin Holbrook of the PNG LNG Kumuls and Ben Jeffries of the Santos PNG Orchids, are set to field the best available athletes in the sport, competing at the highest possible level and also exposing talent having come through the existing PNGRFL pathways. 

Mr. Hondina shared, “With the excitement from the Prime Minister’s XIII and finally having international exhibition and test matches now returning to PNG, we are seeing the different levels of the pathway for our game highlight the ability of our pool of players from the various national championships and now the mentioned matches.”

“Our Coaches have been entrusted to engage and take our teams to where they need to be for these matches and I take this time to thank them for their leadership and wish them the best as they prepare for their upcoming matches,” Hondina added.

The PNG LNG Kumuls will vie for the Pacific Championship Bowl.

Match 1: 15th October 2023 Santos National Football Stadium

Match 2: 29th October 2023, Santos National Football Stadium

Match 3- Finals TBC- 5th November 2023 at the Santos National Football Stadium.

PNG LNG Kumuls Head Coach, Justin Holbrook, will lead his team boasting PNG exports to England, Edwin Ipape of the Leigh Leopards and Wellington Albert of the London Broncos. The squad sees the injection of seasoned Kumul and RLWC Captain, Rhyse Martin, alongside the likes of NRL top performer, Alex Johnston. New faces to the squad include, Jack De Belin next to experienced Kumuls forward, Dan Russell both from NRL side, St. George Illawarra. The Pacific Bowl series will also likely see PNG Hunters, Judah Rimbu, Junior Rop and Valentine Richard earn their Kumuls numbers as they make their debuts.

Wapu Sonk, Chairman of the PNG LNG Kumuls, said, “We saw an outstanding effort from our PMXIII’s side in September and it is a privilege to announce this year’s Pacific Championship squad, with a high calibre of our PNG players assembling from Australia, England and Papua New Guinea, to fly our flag for the first test match in country, since the 2019 Great Britain Lions match.”

The Pacific Championships squads are as below: 


Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitoh), Benji Kot (PNG Hunters), Dan Russell (St. George Illawarra Dragons), Edwin Ipape (Leigh Leopards), Epel Kapinias (PNG Hunters), Jack De Belin (St. George Illawarra Dragons),  Jacob Alick (Gold Coast Titans), Judah Rimbu (PNG Hunters), Junior Rop (PNG Hunters), Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm), Keven Appo (Bradford Bulls), Kyle Laybutt (Townsville Blackhawks), Lachlan Lam (Leigh Leopards), Liam Horne (Castleford Tigers), Mckenzie Yei (Featherstone Rovers), Nene Macdonald (Leeds Rhinos), Nixon Putt (Castleford Tigers), Rhyse Martin (Leeds Rhinos), Robert Derby (North Queensland Cowboys), Rodrick Tai (PNG Hunters), Valentine Richard (Central Qld Capras), Wellington Albert (London Broncos), Zac Laybutt (North Queensland Cowboys).

Next : 

Australian Kangaroos team for 2023 Pacific Championships

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