The COCA-COLA National Schools Rugby League tour to Queensland, Australia has been deferred.
PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau said the tour by the PNG Under16 and Under18 Boys and Under 18 Open Girls which was to be on last week during the 3rd term holidays will now be held from October 31 to November 7, 2019.
Rau said the reason for this postponement is that nearly 75 per cent of the students do not have the National Identity or NID certificate to obtain a passport.
“The students are from around the country and the process is quite rigorous to get the NID certificate,” Rau said. “Every person needs the NID certificate to apply for a passport and nearly three quarters of them don’t have the NID document. You need a passport to get a visa to travel to Australia.”
He said the teams were selected following the COCA – COLA National Schools Rugby League Championships held from July 23 to 26, 2019 in Port Moresby.
“Four weeks wasn’t enough time to fulfil the process,” Rau said. “We are working closely with the NID staff in Port Moresby to get all the NID certificates done within the next week or so.”
He said the three teams will assemble in Port Moresby on October 24 for a week’s bonding and training. “They depart for Brisbane on October 31 and return on November 7, 2019,” Rau said.
He said the full itinerary will be released when the teams are in camp on October 24.
Rau urged the selected players to keep training and stay healthy. “This situation is beyond our control,” he said. “However please keep training, stay fit and most importantly, attend school.”
Rau expressed gratitude to COCA-COLA for their support to the National Schools Rugby League program in PNG.
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