Sport: PNG get past Ireland for quarters spot

2:13 pm on 6 November 2017

Papua New Guinea have cemented a spot in the Rugby League World Cup quarterfinals with a scrappy 14-6 win over Ireland in Port Moresby.

The match was played in front of a sold out National Stadium crowd of 14,800 ,for a second consecutive week.

A sold out crowd turned up to watch the Kumuls outclass Wales at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Port Moresby locals have loved watching the first ever World Cup games in PNG Photo: NRL Photos

The hosts scored three tries to one, although the Irish went close to scoring on a number of occasions.

PNG Kumul captain David Mead said he was most proud of his team's defence.

"That's our number one priority," Mead said.

"It was a pretty scrappy game there, a lot of dropped balls." he said.

"The positive we spoke about was we were able to defend out line."

Mead pointed out the only try Ireland scored was early on off a kick, which was the same that happened last week

"Certainly a huge credit to the players across the park for defending very well. It is something we are continual working on because in previous years we have let teams score a lot of points at the back end of the second half," he said.

The win comes a week after a 50-6 thumping of Wales.

But Mead said his team still needs to show more patience on attack.

"We've got who can break the line on their own so we probably got too excited and we were trying to score points like we did last week so we got too excited," he said.

"We didn't respect the Ireland team as much as we probably should of. We didn't really earn the right to play 'out-the-back' kind of football, where I thought last week we played tough, held onto the ball and completed our set."

Mead said it is something they will look at during the next week.

Papua New Guinea captain David Mead.

Papua New Guinea captain David Mead. Photo: NRL Photos 2017

Ireland coach Mark Ashton paid tribute to PNG in what he said was a highly competitive winner take all clash.

"It was a great game of 'grand final' rugby if you like," he said.

"There were two teams that wanted the prize and we are bitterly disappointed because I believed we could win it and I still believe we could have won the game.

"We are a bit deflated at the moment, but I have got to say from minute one again the boys stood up and took it to the Kumuls and I think that they realise they got of jail today," Ashton said.

England are the Kumuls likely opponents but first they have to play their last inter-group match which is against winless USA team which has conceded over 100 points in their two matches.