McIlorum: Playing in PNG will be an eye-opener

Micky McIlorum in his Ireland shirt. Picture: NRL Photos
Micky McIlorum in his Ireland shirt. Picture: NRL Photos

Micky McIlorum admits the chance to play in Papua New Guinea was a big lure of Ireland’s World Cup campaign.

The Wigan hooker is Down Under with the Irish squad, having represented them in 2008.

Ireland started their campaign with a hugely-impressive 36-12 win against Italy on the opening weekend, in which McIlorum won the man of the match prize.

And with other fiery forwards such as Brad Singleton and Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook alongside him, it whet the appetite for tomorrow’s showdown in the only country where rugby league is the national sport.

McIlorum said: “A few people who’ve played there before have told me what to expect, and I’m looking forward to it - it’s going to be an eye-opener.

“I like to travel but Papua New Guinea is not one of the places I would normally go to.

“But you hear the stories, it’s obviously their national sport and they love the game, and so it’s great to get the chance to go and play there and experience their culture.

“It was another reason I wanted to go to the World Cup.”

PNG’s game with Ireland is at 6am tomorrow UK time. Italy play USA at the same time, with Wales’ match with Fiji at 8.30am.

All World Cup games are shown on subscription channel Premier Sport. Tomorrow morning’s USA-Italy game is also being shown on new channel FreeSport.

A round-up of today’s action will be on BBC1 from 1.15pm to 2.45pm. And highlights from the Sunday games will be on from 4pm to 5.30pm on BBC2.