Ray Thompson is relishing the experience of his first ever World Cup for Papua New Guinea and after a narrow loss to France in their opening game of Rugby League World Cup 2013, the hooker cannot wait to get back out there again on Monday against Samoa at Craven Park, Hull (8:00pm).
Before they were defeated 8-9, the North Queensland Cowboys star feels that PNG were heading for victory against France, and he knows that they have what it takes to do well in the tournament.
“The preparations for the game against Samoa are going really well,” said Thompson. “Obviously we were a bit disappointed with the result against France but there are still a lot of positives to take out of that game.
“It means we go into training with a bit of confidence and we know the areas that we need to improve. For us it has been so far, so good.
“The pleasing thing from the France game was that we got ourselves in a position to win. We feel that our ball execution let us down a bit so that is something to work on.
“We know Samoa have a big pack which means our defence is going to be important on Monday so we will be working on that in training.
“Our main priority is what we do. We will have a little look at Samoa and how they play but at the moment the priority is taking care of ourselves and making sure we do everything right.”
Thompson is also enjoying the atmosphere surrounding RLWC2013, and believes that the vociferous crowds have been as impressive as the entertaining matches in the tournament so far.
“The crowds have been awesome, really boisterous, so it is good to get out there when they are right behind us and they will push us on to win,” said Thompson.
“It is my first experience and I am loving it. England is a great place, everyone is really nice, the weather might be a bit different to Australia but I am really enjoying it.
“There have been some great games, some dark horses getting wins when they were not expected to and knocking some other teams off their guard. It is great to be a part of it.”
Tickets are still available for the PNG v Samoa RLWC2013 Group B match at Craven Park, Hull, on Monday (8.00pm) and are priced from as little as £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. To purchase your ticket, please either visit www.eticketing.co.uk/rlwc/ or call our 24-hour ticketing hotline on 08448472013.
Bosam Nene MacDonald
Jessi Joe Nandye
Source: 2013 Rugby League World Cup