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Kumuls name six debutants for the Pacific Championship Tri-Nation Series

The Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) Board has announced the 21-men PNG LNG Kumuls squad on October 5th for the Tri-Nations Pacific Championship Series, which will be held from October 14 to November in Port Moresby at Santos National Football Stadium.

Of the 21-men squad, six players have been selected to make their debut for the Kumuls. The six debutants are: Judah Rimbu, Junior Rop, and Benji Kot (SP PNG Hunters); Valentine Richard (Central Queensland Capras); Jack De Belin (Saint George Illawarra Dragons); and Zac Laybutt (North Queensland Cowboys). Junior Rop will debut this year but he received his Kumul number last year. The other five debutants will receive their Kumul numbers.

When announcing the squad, the PNG LNG Kumuls Chairman, Wapu Sonk expressed his confidence and faith in the team that they have assembled.

“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 caliber of our PNG players assembling from Australia, England and Papua New Guinea to fly our flag for the first test match in the country, since the 2019 Great Britain Lions match,” Chairman Sonk said.

The Kumuls will host Fiji and Cook Islands in the Nation’s Capital. These three countries will vie for the Bowl Cup.

The Justin Holbrook-coached side were selected from the different Rugby League competitions, such as the National Rugby League, Betfred Super League, Queensland Cup and Intrust Super Cup. Most of the playing squads are comprised of players from the second-tier competitions.

The Kumuls will be boosted by PNG exports to England, Edwin Ipape and Lachlan Lam of the Leigh Leopards, and Wellington Albert of the London Broncos.

The squad also sees the injection of seasoned Kumul and RLWC Captain, Rhyse Martin, alongside the likes of the NRL top performer and try-scoring ace, Alex Johnston.

PNG LNG Kumuls confirmed squad are:

1. Alex Johnston - Souths Sydney Rabbitohs

2. Benji Kot - PNG Hunters

3. Dan Russell - St. George Illawarra Dragons

4. Edwin Ipape - Leigh Leopards

5. Epel Kapinias - PNG Hunters

6. Jack De Belin - St. George Illawarra Dragons

7. Jacob Alick - Gold Coast Titans

8. Judah Rimbu - PNG Hunters

9. Junior Rop - PNG Hunters

10. Justin Olam - Melbourne Storm

11. Kyle Laybutt -Townsville Blackhawks

12. Lachlan Lam - Leigh Leopards

13. Liam Horne - Castleford Tigers

14. Nene McDonald - Leeds Rhinos

15. Nixon Putt - Castleford Tigers

16. Rhyse Martin - Leeds Rhinos

17. Robert Derby - North Queensland Cowboys

18. Rodrick Tai - PNG Hunters

19. Valentine Richard - Central Queensland Capras

20. Wellington Albert - London Broncos

21. Zac Laybutt - North Queensland Cowboys

The Kumuls will play their first match of the Series on Sunday, 15th of October, at NFS where they will take on the Cook Islands.

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