Great Britain wary of Papua New Guinea as they seek first win

Great Britain have pledged not to underestimate Papua New Guinea as they look to end their four-match tour with a much-needed victory.

The Lions are licking their wounds after three defeats from their first three games and face a challenge from both the conditions and a fired-up Kumuls side that pushed Fiji close in their Oceania Cup match last Saturday.

“They really play for the shirt so we need to be at our best this weekend, physically and mentally,” said assistant coach Ian Watson after the team arrived in Port Moresby on Tuesday.

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“The heat will test us because it’s not something we’re used to and they played really well against Fiji at the weekend. Papua New Guinea have got some really good players that we need to be aware of.”

Great Britain suffered a 20-18 defeat on their tour to Papua New Guinea in 1990 and prop Tom Burgess says the current tourists are aware of the dangers they face as they look to end the tour on a high after losing the two-Test series with New Zealand and going down to a Tongan Invitational XIII in their opener.

“We know if we’re not on our game this weekend, we can get beat,” he said.

“They have got a lot of quality players in their side – I know one of them very well, Alex Johnston, who plays with me at Souths and he’s top quality.

“We’re not taking it lightly at all. They are all strong and they’re not going to take a backward step.”

“It’s a very important game. It’s our last Test, we’re finished after this, and we don’t want any regrets.

“We just want to go out there and give our best and represent the Lions to the best of our ability.

“We’ve addressed a few things this week in the review and pinpointed where we need to get better. It’s not much, just little things that can make a big difference.

“There’s been no lack of effort in the games, we need to be a bit smarter. We’ve got two sessions to get it right.”

Meanwhile, Zak Hardaker is back in Great Britain’s 21-man squad to face Papua New Guinea after missing last Saturday’s defeat to New Zealand.

John Bateman has been cleared to play as well after being put on report for a careless high tackle on Ken Maumalo in Christchurch.

The back row pleaded guilty to the charge, but the match review panel ruled not to apply a ban for the grade one offence.

Provisional Lions squad to face PNG

Great Britain: Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Jack Hughes, Jake Connor, Blake Austin, Gareth Widdop, Jackson Hastings, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Tom Burgess, John Bateman, Elliott Whitehead, James Graham

Interchange (from): Josh Jones, Luke Thompson, Daryl Clark, Alex Walmsley, Joe Philbin, George Williams, Jake Trueman, Zak Hardaker

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