Pacific nations strong contenders in Rugby League World Cup

PNG Coach Mal Meninga. Photo/ABC
There will be strong representation from Pacific nations in the Rugby League World Cup, which kicks off in the United Kingdom on October 26.

Among the 14 countries competing will be Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and Australia.

Both Papua New Guinea and Tonga say they are setting their sights on a place in the quarter final.

Coach of the Mate Ma'a Tonga team, Charles Tonga has told Pacific Beat his team has a mixture of young and experienced players.

He says preparation will be the key to achieving success in the World Cup in England later this month.

"I started working, I got appointed four years ago," he said.

"It has been a long process and I work with the boys.

"I like building a relationship, sort of showing my vision, you know."

The Tongans will play Scotland, Italy and Pacific rivals Cook Islands in the pool round.

Meninga mission

The Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League has engaged Australian Rugby League Legend, Mal Meninga, as high performance coaching director for the Kumuls.

He has told Pacific Beat the team is well prepared and is expected to make PNG proud.

"They are a great bunch of young people who understand the expectations of this country," he said.

"They understand that they need to play to their potential to be successful

"We have set some goals around the quarter final, but our challenge is individually and as a group to play as best as we possibly can.

"We have got tremendous attitude and passion and desire when we put the Kumal Jersey on, we will do well."

The Kumuls first game is against France on October 27 and they will also face Samoa and New Zealand in the pool round.

ABC News

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