THE PNG Under 19 team to the rugby World Cup qualifiers in Brisbane, Australia, next month will be announced on Friday.
Coach Morea Kauna told The National PNG had a daunting task to overcome a much bigger Cook Islands team.
The World Cup qualifier is slated for Jan 20 against the Cook Islands. Winners advance to the World Cup in Ireland in June next year.
He said with introduced Mangi Rugby concept should be baseline for junior rugby development in the country.
Morea said 40 players in Port Moresby and 18 in Lae were undergoing intensive training.
The Lae boys are training under PNG Rugby Football Union’s development officer Robin Tarere.
Kauna said a trial match was planned to pit Port Moresby players against Lae players.
He said the short notice by International Rugby Board left PNGRFU with no options.
“We hope to get a strong side to Brisbane considering the Cook Islands for their renowned big sizes will be a big difference and especially having most of their young players already playing professional football in either Australia or New Zealand,” Kauna said.
He said the squad were working on fitness and skills.
The final team are expected to assemble in Port Moresby in Jan 10.