PNGRU seeks funding assistance to commercialize rugby

PNG Rugby Union (PNGRU) has requested funding support from the national government to support in running rugby union competitions in the country with the hope to qualify for 2027 Rugby World Cup.

PNGRU president Paul Siwi, submitted a proposal to Prime Minister James Marape on January 14, 2024, during the announcement of Joanne Butler’s signing with the ACT Brumbies in Australia.

Siwi said: “The 2027 Rugby World Cup is happening in Australia and we want to be part of it. How do we become part of the World Cup Campaign? We need to start organising rugby back home and one way to do it is running inter-city rugby like Rugby League.”

He said the government has shown interest in supporting the PNGRU in this regard to make it a commercialized sport in the country.   

“When we start to run this game, suddenly, all players in the rugby will be on the market; so we are trying to get people that you are not playing rugby for free. You must get paid playing rugby like rugby league.

“Now, in rugby Union, we are not getting paid playing rugby union; and we need to commercialize the sport so that we give incentive to those that play rugby and that needs to happen,” said Siwi.

As part of its preparations for the 2027 Rugby World Cup, PNGRU is also aiming to send the PNG Pukpuks Sevens team on tours from 2024 – 2026 to Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, Australia or Oceania against tier two teams so they can qualify for the world cup.

Marape, who has a great interest in sports, respectfully received the proposal and urged the PNGRU to invest in its junior development pathways to further develop rugby in the country.

World Rugby has created four more spots to expand the World Cup participation in 2027, and PNGRU is aiming to secure a spot. 

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