England Women's side get "crazy" reception in Papua New Guinea

Wigan's Rachel Thompson says nothing could have prepared her for the reception England Women's side received in Papua New Guinea.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 11:29 am
England Women won the first Test 24-10

She scored a try as they claimed a 24-10 win in the first Test - with some fans climbing trees to watch.

Fans in PNG - the only country where rugby league is the national sport - have been flocking to watch the England women train and play.

"I don't think anything can really prepare you for what it's like, it is very overwhelming - I've never experienced anything like that before," said Thompson.

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"We did a school visit and it was crazy, everyone wants pictures and selfies and hugs, it was something you'd never experience anywhere else."

Club-mate Rebecca Greenfield also played in the opening match in Goroka, in which Emily Rudge scored four tries and Dannielle Anderson also touched down - there were no goals scored.

Shirley Joe and Ua Rave scored second-half tries for the Orchids.

England play the second and final Test in Port Moresby this Saturday before the Great Britain men's team take on Papua New Guinea in the final match of their Lions tour.

Coach Craig Richards said: "I'm delighted with the effort from the girls as it was an absolute war of attrition.

"I was pleased to see the girls dig in and overcome the testing circumstances such as the weather, physicality and a vocal home crowd in Goroka.

"The whole point of coming to Papua New Guinea wasn't for the scorelines but it was to put ourselves in tough environments and see how we react, and the girls reacted in this first Test."

Ex-Warriors and Hull FC full-back Shaun Briscoe, who hails from Wigan, is the assistant coach and a third Warriors players, Georgia Wilson, is also in the touring squad.