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PNG Cassowaries far from Qualifying for World Cup

The Papua New Guinea Cassowaries are far from qualifying for the World Cup after losing all three rounds of the annual Women’s Oceania Rugby Championship in Australia, concluding their campaign at the bottom of the ladder.

Since the inception of the championship in 2016, the Cassowaries have yet to win a game. They have a bad track record, losing all their games from 2016-2024.

The Oceania Championship has provided a platform for the island nations such as PNG, Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji women’s rugby union teams to compete for a ticket to the Rugby World Cup.

In 2016, PNG lost to Fiji in their international debut, 34-0. In 2018, PNG lost all three rounds: Samoa 65-5 PNG; Fiji 96-0 PNG; and Tonga 62-26 PNG. PNG did not take part in the 2019-2021 championships due COVID-19.

The Cassowaries returned to the championship in 2022, where they suffered their biggest defeat at the hands of Fiji in the first round with a 152-0 scoreline. In round two, Samoa demolished them 90-0 and in the final round, Tonga thrashed them with a 108-7 margin.

Last year, Fiji embarrassed PNG one more time with a 77-0 win in the opening round, Samoa smashed the Cassowaries again with an 83-0 scoreline and Tonga thumped them in the final round with a 30-22 margin.

This year, the round 1 game between PNG and Samoa Manusina XV was cancelled due to issues preventing the team from departing Port Moresby. However, the problem was sorted out and they played the remaining two games.

In the first game, the Fijianas slaughtered the Cassowaries with a whopping 85-06 full time score. And in the final round, PNG were belted by Tonga Lofa XV with a 39-05 scoreline.

The Fijianas were declared as the Champions, securing a spot in the inaugural World Women’s WXV Division 3 championship that kicks off in August. The runners-up of the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship will secure the second spot available for Oceania in WXV 3 Division and will contest the final five (5) spots available from the 2024 WXV2-3 competition for qualification to the 2025 Rugby World Cup.

Photo credit: Oceania Rugby Women's Championship

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