Papua New Guinea 28 Great Britain 10: Lions’ first tour in 12 years ends in humiliation as they lose all four games


GREAT BRITAIN’S ill-fated first tour in 12 years ended as it began – in embarrassing defeat.

The Lions have returned to the international rugby league arena for the first time since 2007, but lost all four games on the trip.

Wayne Bennett led England to the 2017 World Cup final but is now on the brink
Getty Images – Getty

But while crashing to Tonga – World Cup semi-finalists last time around – and New Zealand twice was bad enough, today they sunk to new depths.

Wayne Bennett’s men were humbled by Papua New Guinea in the heat and humidity of Port Moresby, to give the Kumuls only their second-ever victory over Britain.

Eighteen unanswered second-half points left the Lions humiliated, and raise huge doubts over Bennett’s long-term future as coach.

The Aussie, now out of contract, wants to stay in the job – and has been backed by RL chiefs – but there is a growing feeling back home that he should go, for all his wonderful record as a club boss Down Under.

Ironically it had all started so well for Britain, who weathered an early PNG storm and went into the break ahead.

That came courtesy of Blake Austin’s try down the left, a second from Josh Hodgson, and one Gareth Widdop conversion.

Edwin Ipape sent a 15,000 sell-out Port Moresby crowd wild with a 50-metre effort right on half time.

And in the second half Britain fell apart, and had no response as Papua New Guinea – one of international RL’s second-tier nations – sliced them apart.

Watson Boas darted in, and was swiftly followed by further scores from Justin Olam, Alex Johnston and Nixon Pitt.

Rhyse Martin converted three of them, to give the Kumuls far and away the greatest win in their history.

Their only other win over Britain came in 1990, in a Test match when police needed tear gas to disperse a fanatical crowd.

This time the only tears were in the eyes of the shamed tourists – they have a long way to go to regain their reputations after this.


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