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Women’s Football England ‘feel blessed to be’ in Papua New Guinea

ENGLAND coach Craig Richards says the players were shocked by the reception they received when they arrived in Papua New Guinea for their pioneering two-match tour.

The 23-strong squad flew into Goroka, the venue for tomorrow’s first Test, and witnessed first hand the passion for rugby league on the islands where it is the national sport.

“It was unbelievable,” said Richards. “We’ve seen footage of the England Knights’ tour to PNG and I thought I was prepared for it but every street was packed with people wanting to see us and wave to us.

“What jumps out is how genuine it is as well, it really is a rugby-mad place.

“As we were landing you looked out of the window and saw loads of kids playing rugby on fields we wouldn’t even walk on.

“It was something you’ve got to see to believe and appreciate. We feel blessed to be here.

“The girls are in shock but loved it at same time, they’ve not stopped talking about it.

“It was one of those surreal experiences, to see people who seem to have very little but are so happy because they’ve got rugby league in their lives.”

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