Can they topple England?

Papua New Guinea are poised with their best ever chance to bring down a tier-one nation following the success of their domestic side – PNG Hunters.

On the back of the Hunters’ success in taking out the Queensland Cup this season, PNG veteran Paul Aiton has given the national side an on-par chance of sending England home early.

Speaking from Melbourne, Aiton said it’s a 50-50 as far as the Kumuls are concerned; they are training to win!

PNG coach Michael Marum has left out Lachlan Lam following his sensational two-try debut against the United States, opting for experience in the halves with Ase Boas.

Boas, 27, proved he can handle the clutch moments of big games when he helped deliver the PNG Hunters their maiden Queensland Cup title back in September.

He’ll play alongside 23-year-old brother Watson in the halves on Sunday. They also played a starring role in the Hunters’ breakthrough season.

The last time the two sides met was at the 2010 Four Nations, where the Kumuls went down 36-10 at Eden Park in New Zealand. Before that was at the 2008 World Cup in Townsville, where it was just a 32-22 England victory.

Having played all their games on home turf, the shift to Melbourne Rectangular Stadium presents a challenge in itself, but the majority of the squad should be well-versed with playing abroad.

England’s showstoppers Ryan Hall and Jermain McGillvary will oppose Justin Olam and PNG’s leading try-scorer Garry Lo.

With a domestic cup already in their hands and an undefeated run so far, this suggests that the Kumuls are a far better side than the one England beat some odd 9 years back.

(PNG veteran Paul Aiton)

Sophie Yaruso