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banner Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 22:04 GMT
Kumuls see off dogged Rhinos
South Africa's defence was resolute this time
South Africa's defence was resolute this time
Papua New Guinea 16-0 South Africa

Papua New Guinea were made to work hard for an unconvincing 16-0 victory over South Africa in Toulouse.

The Rhinos made Papua New Guinea fight all the way and the Kumuls had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first chance.

Eddie Aila charged down a Jamie Bloem kick and full-back Brian Best was on hand to clear the danger.


But Aila did open the scoring two minutes later when he darted through a gap from 20 metres out.

To us, that was almost like a victory
  South African captain Jamie Bloem
John Wilshere converted and claimed a try himself after 31 minutes when he got on the end of an inside pass from Adrian Lam out on the right.

The Rhinos were a much-improved outfit from their 66-18 drubbing to Tonga in Paris and they had a chance to put some points on the board two minutes into the second half, but Justin Jennings knocked on in front of an open line.

Hull's Stanley Gene did likewise with his own kick moments later, but substitute Elias Paiyo soon moved Papua New Guinea 16-0 ahead after 52 minutes when he made the most of a scintillating 40-metre break from David Buko.


If the Kumuls thought the floodgates would open, however, they were to be disappointed.

South Africa continued to battle bravely and they restricted Papua New Guinea to those four points throughout a dogged second half.

It was enough to give next opponents France plenty to think about ahead of Sunday's game in Albi.

We came here to win the game and not have any points scored against us and we achieved that
  Papua New Guinea skipper Adrian Lam
South Africa captain Jamie Bloem said: "We have got four professional rugby league players in our side and the rest are used to rugby union.

Pride and respectability

"To us, that was almost like a victory. After our two recent big defeats against Wales and Tonga, we came here to get a bit of pride and respectability back and we did that."

Kumuls counterpart Lam said: "We came here to win the game and not have any points scored against us and we achieved that.

"I am not worried that we didn't score more points. The important thing is that we didn't conceded any.

PNG coach Bob Bennett added: "If we win the next game we progress to England, it's as simple as that."

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