Rugby League World Cup 2017: Papua New Guinea 50-6 Wales

Michael Gove
Paul Aiton scores PNG’s final try in 50-6 win over Wales
Papua New Guinea (26) 50
Tries: Mead 3, McDonald, Ottio, W Albert, Martin 2, Olam, Aiton
Goals: Martin
Wales (0) 6
Try: Grace
Goal: Davies

Wales were thrashed 50-6 by Papua New Guinea in their opening game of the World Cup in Port Moresby.

David Mead scored a hat-trick as the rampant hosts ran in 10 tries, while Regan Grace claimed Wales’ only try with the last play of the game.

Only the winners of Pool C, which also features Ireland, will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Wales, coached by Wakefield boss John Kear, have not won at the World Cup since they beat the Kumuls in 2000.

Australia beat England 18-4 in the tournament opener on Friday, while New Zealand are currently playing Samoa in Auckland and Fiji meet the United States in Townsville, Australia at 10:40 GMT.

In 29C heat and roared on by the passionate fans of the only nation in the world for whom rugby league is the national sport, PNG scored two early tries through the impressive Mead.

Nene Macdonald also went over and Rhyse Martin added the game’s first extras.

The game was stopped briefly when Wales’ Ben Evans claimed he was bitten on a finger in a tackle by Wellington Albert. Referee Ben Cummins put the allegation on report, to be investigated after the match.

Kato Ottio went clear before Garry Lo sent Albert through following a cross-field run, Minoga also struck and Rhyse Martin went over twice after the break.

Olam gathered Martin’s grubber to cross before Mead completed his hat-trick, and Paul Aiton capped a dominant display before Courtney Davies converted Grace’s consolation for Wales.

Watch highlights of Saturday’s games on BBC One at 13:15 BST.

Papua New Guinea greeted Wales in traditional fashion
A Papua New Guinea fan displays his support in colourful style

What next?

Papua New Guinea play Ireland in Port Moresby on Sunday, 5 November (06:00 GMT), while Wales face Fiji – who are in Group D – in Townsville (08:30).

Papua New Guinea: David Mead (capt), Justin Olam, Kato Ottio, Nene Macdonald, Garry Lo, Ase Boas, Watson Boas, Stanton Albert, Wartovo Puara, Luke Page, Rhyse Martin, Willie Minoga, Paul Aiton. Interchange: Kurt Baptiste, Wellington Albert, James Segeyaro, Enock Maki.

Wales: Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Michael Channing, Andrew Gay, Regan Grace, Courtney Davies, Matt Seamark, Craig Kopczak (capt), Steve Parry, Philip Joseph, Rhodri Lloyd, Chester Butler, Morgan Knowles. Interchange: Ben Morris, Matty Fozard, Sam Hopkins, Ben Evans.

Referee: Ben Cummins.

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