By GEOFF STEVENSON

PNG have lived up to their favourites tag in the opening day the 2019 Pacific Games Nines Rugby League event, winning all three of their pool matches. The Kumuls defeated Tonga, Fiji and Samoa on day one, qualifying to take on Tonga in tomorrow’s semi-final.

Pool A provided close competition for the other semi-final places with Fiji defeating Samoa 14-12, while Samoa overcame Tonga 10-8 in front of local fans. Pool B debutants Tokelau went down to the Cook Islands by a respectable 22-4 scoreline.

The Cooks, buoyed by their win over the South African Rhinos in the 13-a-side World Cup qualifier two weeks ago in Sydney, also defeated the Solomon Islands 20-4 before bowing out to Tonga 8-4 in their ranking round.

Day one of the event was affected by inclement weather and a boggy pitch late in the day. Late showers are also predicted for tomorrow’s clash between PNG and Tonga, while the Fiji will play Samoa in the other semi-final. Defeated teams in each clash will playoff for the bronze medal.

The debut of the Women’s Nines Rugby League led to two teams emerging as clear gold medal contenders on day one. The Cook Island women remain undefeated after wins against Samoa 16-12, with current Brisbane Broncos teammates Kimiora Nati and Maitua Feterika captaining their respective nations.

The Cooks went on to defeat Solomon Islands 38-0, while Fiji also remains undefeated after defeating PNG 16-8 and Nuie 18-0.

Women’s semi-finals on Day 2 will see the Fiji Women play Samoa while the PNG Orchids play the Cook Islands.Become a Patron!