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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 07:38 GMT
Lam looking to fleece Wales
Stanley Gene and Adrian Lam
Stanley Gene (left) and Adrian Lam after beating Tonga
Papua New Guinea skipper Adrian Lam will head from Sydney to England next January, ready for a Super League stint with Wigan.

But before that particular date there is the small matter of the Kumuls' Lincoln World Cup quarter-final clash with Wales in Widnes on Sunday.

By his own admission, Lam was not at his best in his side's 30-22 victory over a spirited Tonga outfit in Perpignan, a win which left PNG unbeaten at the top of the France-based Group B.

But with half-back partner Stanley Gene of Hull firing on all cylinders alongside him, that did not really matter.


Before this tournament we had never won a World Cup match away from home. And now we have won three in a row
  Adrian Lam
Wigan's new superstar-in-waiting and his team-mates booked themselves a place in the knock-out phases after being watched by Warriors supremo Maurice Lindsay.

Lam said: "Getting to the north of England for the semi-finals is exciting, not only for me but also for the rest of the team.

Eye-opener

"It ought to be an eye-opener for me ahead of playing in Super League, and hopefully some Wigan supporters can get out and watch our game against Wales.

"It will be tough for us and, in a lot of ways, we start again.

"We played Australia four weeks ago and we embarrassed ourselves. But that was good for us in a way because we steeled up and we got some good training staff on board.

"From there we set the goal that we wanted to turn up in France and win the pool, which is what we have done.

"Before this tournament we had never won a World Cup match away from home. And now we have won three in a row."

National sport

Lam is in no doubt that the reaction in Papua New Guinea, the only country in the world where rugby league is the national sport, will be ecstatic.

"There will probably be a national holiday called back home," he said.

"There are around 3.8 million people in Papua New Guinea, and at least 2.8m will have been listening to the match against Tonga on the radio."

The Kumuls' performances in what has been an entertaining French pool would indicate that a semi-final spot is certainly not beyond their reach.

And Lam, for one, cannot wait to test Papua New Guinea's new-found confidence.

"Widnes next Sunday against Wales just can't come quick enough."

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See also:

06 Nov 00 |  Group 3
PNG make last eight
02 Nov 00 |  Group 3
Kumuls see off dogged Rhinos
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