Wigan Warriors star Sam Powell says playing in Papua New Guinea has been crazy

Sam Powell after the first match against the Kumuls
Sam Powell after the first match against the Kumuls

Sam Powell says touring Papua New Guinea has been a “crazy” experience he will never forget.

The Warriors hooker is with the England Knights squad preparing for Saturday’s international against the Kumuls in Port Moresby.

Wigan’s Tom Davies scored a try in their 16-12 victory last weekend and Powell is confident they can return home with a 2-0 series victory.

Either way, the trip to the only country where rugby league is a national sport has certainly left an impression on the 26-year-old.

He said: “A lot has surprised me. Before I came here people said it would be a good life experience and when we got here it was crazy. They love rugby league so much, you see people in old NRL shirts.

“The people don’t have much but many have camera phones and everyone wants to say hello and take selfies and things like that. It’s been mad.”

Powell says improving their ball control in the energy-sapping humidity for Paul Anderson’s outfit is key.

“The first game was really physical – I was really nervous because it was going into the unknown,” said Powell, singling out St Helens prop Matty Lees for praise.

“I watched them warm up and they may not all be great with the ball but they are all athletes, and they bang.

“It was always going to be tough in the heat and humidity, but it was good.”

The only drawback of the match was missing England’s 18-16 victory against New Zealand.

“It wasn’t on TV, but we’ve seen the highlights and I was made up to see Oli Gildart score the winning try, it was no less than what he deserves,” added Powell.

Meanwhile, Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan believes ,ext year’s World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters will be staged at the DW Stadium .

“Our clear preference is to play at the DW Stadium and it appears to be happening,” Lenagan told League Express.

“The date for the game is not yet finalised and it is dependent on lots of things, including Sky’s broadcast plans.”