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World Cup TV France edge out Papua New Guinea

28th of October 2013


Papua New Guinea 8, France 9

By Liam Williams

A drop-goal from William Barthau snatched a dramatic win for France as Papua New Guinea were left to rue a last-gasp penalty miss in a gripping Rugby League World Cup 2013 Group B fixture at Craven Park, Hull.

Barthau looked to have made a swift transformation from hero to villain when he followed up his 65th-minute drop-goal by conceding a penalty in front of his own posts in the penultimate minute, giving Papuan full-back David Mead the opportunity to steal the two points.

But with the strong wind that had swirled around East Hull throughout an afternoon that will live long in the memory of a crowd of 7,451 continuing to cause difficulties, Mead could not find the target.

The miss prompted jubilant celebrations among the France players who had shown great fortitude in bouncing back from their shock defeat at the hands of the USA Tomahawks in a RLWC2013 warm-up game a week earlier.

It also silenced a partisan crowd which had demonstrated strong allegiance to a Kumuls team that had given as good as it got over the preceding 79 minutes.

France got off to a perfect start when Eloi Pelissier found his Catalan Dragons club-mate Thomas Bosc with a cleverly-disguised pass from dummy-half to allow the half-back to break through the Kumuls defence and score a try which he goaled himself.

Papua New Guinea responded perfectly, though, when France were penalised for offside near their own goal-line to give their opponents a fresh set of six which they made full use of.  After Ray Thompson’s offload rebounded off Isreal Eliab’s head, Frederic Vaccari could only palm the ball to winger Nene McDonald who touch down.

With defences on top, the scores stayed at 6-4 to France until the interval but it was Papua New Guineawho hit the ground running in the second half with a try from Josiah Abavu before a penalty from Bosc and a drop-goal from Barthau won the game.

Papua New Guinea struggled to create many more chances, but did look to test Clint Greenshields with a number of high kicks into the wind which were all dealt with excellently by the utility back.

The Kumuls’s best chance to take the lead came when Charlie Wabo’s intelligent dummy presented Abavu with a scoring opportunity, only for the winger to be taken into touch with a try-saving tackle byGreenshields before he could touch down.

Josiah Abavu made the first breakthrough after half-time when Ase Boas opted not to kick on the last tackle, but sent out a pass which put his winger over for the try in the corner that gave his side the lead. Mead could not add the goal.

Clearly buoyed by the try, Papua New Guinea applied more pressure and completed consecutive sets by first trapping France full-back Morgan Escare in goal before doing the same to Barthau.

Bosc then levelled the scores with a penalty on the hour before Mead’s misplaced kick gave France head and feed at the scrum to set up the position from which Barthau caught the Papuan defence by surprise with his decisive drop-goal from 30 metres out.

The tension mounted as the hooter approached and France looked to have undone their hard work when Barthau’s error presented Mead with his late chance for glory but the kick squirted left of the posts to break Papuan hearts.

Papua New Guinea

1 David Mead

2 Josiah Abavu

3 Menzie Yere

4 Isreal Eliab

5 Nene McDonald

6 Ray Thomas

7 Ase Boas

8 Mark Mexico

9 Paul Aiton

10 Enoch Maki

11 Dion Aiye

12 Jason Chan

13 Neville Costigan


14 Charlie Wabo

15 Richard Kambo

16 Jessie Joe Nandye

17 Larsen Marabe


1 Morgan Escare

2 Frederic Vaccari

3 Jean-Phillippe Baile

4 Vincent Duport

5 Clint Greenshields

6 Thomas Bosc

7 William Barthau

8 Jamal Fakir

9 Eloi Pelissier

10 Remi Casty

11 Kevin Larroyer

12 Sebastian Raguin

13 Gregory Mounis


14 Theo Fages

15 Olivier Elima

16 Benjamin Garcia

17 Mickael Simon

Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia)

Papua New Guinea 8 (Tries: McDonald, Abavu), France 9 (Tries: Bosc; Goals: Bosc 2; Drop-goal: Barthau).

Attendance: 7,481

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