Craig Kopczak’s Welsh side fell to a heavy 50-6 defeat in their 2017 Rugby League World Cup opener against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.
Kopczak captained a Wales side featuring several Super League players including impressive young St Helens duo Morgan Knowles and Regan Grace however the Kumuls boasting Paul Aiton, James Segeyaro and Castleford’s new signing Garry Lo were just too strong.
Brisbane Broncos’ David Mead was a thorn in Wales side all afternoon and the full-back crossed for two tries early on to put the hosts in control. The Kumuls went into half-time with a 26-0 lead after Nene MacDonald, Kato Ottio and Willie Minoga all crossed before the interval.
Papua New Guinea continued their dominance after the break as Rhyse Martin scored just three minutes after the break and followed it up with a second midway through the half. Justin Olam latched onto a low kick to extend the hosts lead before Mead notched his hat-trick.
The Kumuls hit the half-century as Martin converted a Paul Aiton try but Wales did get themselves on the scoresheet with the final play of the game as Regan Grace planted the ball down following a clever kick over the top from Matt Seamark.
Wales will face Fiji next Sunday in Townsville while Papua New Guinea host Tyrone McCarthy’s Ireland in Port Moresby next weekend.
PNG: Mead, Olam, Ottio, MacDonald, Lo; A. Boas, W. Boas; Albert, Puara, Page, Martin, Griffin, Aiton. Interchanges: Baptiste, Minoga, Segeyaro, Maki.
Wales: Kear, Williams, Channing, Gay, Grace; Davies, Seamark; Kopczak, Parry, Joseph, Lloyd, Morris, Knowles. Interchanges: Fozard, Hopkins, Evans, Butler.
Attendance: 14,800.