Leeds Rhinos Rhyse Martin thinks his Papua New Guinean team is the strongest they’ve had

Papua New Guinea get their World Cup campaign underway tonight against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Tonga.

PNG captain Rhyse Martin believes a lot of nations owe a lot to Tonga for the barriers which they broke down in 2017 and believes It makes for a more exciting World Cup.

Speaking ahead of their opener, Martin had this to say about his opponents,

“I think what they have done for their country is inspirational,” Martin said. “Especially for a lot of players coming through and a lot of other nations to do the same.

“For this World Cup a lot of teams have done that, representing where they come from and its exciting.”

Although not considered one of the biggest threats in the tournament, PNG still have a strong squad with Melbourne Storm’s Xavier Coates and Justin Olam part of a deadly back line.

They also possess some of the brightest talent in English rugby league, with recent Championship player of the year Edwin Ipape set for a starting role whilst his fellow team mate Lachlan Lam has been given the seven jersey.

The aforementioned Martin is also one of their key players and with Papau New Guinea the only nation where rugby league is the national sport, the countries captain doesn’t believe you’ll find a more passionate group of players.

“For our team all our players are the most passionate you’ll come across, I think our Papua New Guinean team is the strongest we’ve had ever.

“For us we want to win it as much as everyone else, the game against Tonga will show everyone where we are at and we can see how we go when we play them.”

Games against Cook Islands and Wales complete their pool stage as they look to emulate their success from 2017 and make the quarter-finals of the World Cup once again.

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