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Kumuls down Bati, claim Pacific Bowl title

The PNG Kumuls clinched the inaugural 2023 Pacific Bowl beating the Vodafone Fiji Bati 32-12 in the final showdown at Santos Stadium in Port Moresby today.

After going down 43-16 to the Bati a week ago at home, the Kumuls came out with a new intensity in the final which showed in their determined defence.

PNG Kumuls dominated the entire opening half of the match as livewire hooker Edwin Ipape shed the first blood and Rhyse Martin converted for a 6-0 lead.

Centre Zac Laybutt ran the decoy for fullback Alex Johnston to find winger Robert Derby to cross for a double.

In the closing stages of the first half, Laybutt was helping to set up his teammates again, busting through tackles and making a break downfield before finding Johnston back on his inside who went under the posts to score.

Martin converted all three for a 26-nil lead at the break

The Bati had their chance to turn the tide in the second half, with Parramatta Eels centre Waqa Blake crossing for the first try and Brandon Wakeham converting.

But they left plenty of chances begging, including Maika Sivo losing the ball over the line in what proved to be a key moment in the match.

The Kumuls were reduced to 12 players when Epel Kapinias was sin-binned for a foul and Blake took advantage crossing for the second try in favor of Bati.

Wakeham converted before the Bati were reduced to 12 players as well when Taane Milne copped a yellow card for foul play.

Kapinias returned from the sin-bin and made amendments to his performance grabbing the last try for Bati while Martin converted to seal the win.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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