PNG's quarter-final warning to England

Papua New Guinea coach Stanley Tepend has warned England that the Kumuls won't be easybeats after setting up a Rugby League World Cup quarter-final showdown with the tournament hosts this weekend.

The Kumuls have just four days to recover from Monday night's 36-0 win over Wales in Doncaster before facing the English in Wigan on Saturday.

The two sides faced off in the 2017 tournament in Melbourne, with England cruising to a comfortable 36-6 victory.

Only a handful of players, headlined by centre Justin Olam and captain Rhyse Martin, remain from that loss.

Since then, however, PNG defeated Great Britain - an English team in all-but name - in 2019 and suffered a narrow loss to world No. 2 Tonga in their opening World Cup group game.

"I think we've learned from what happened in 2017," Tepend said.

"The players are now a lot smarter and a lot younger.

"I think we relied on a few individuals but now it's more of a team effort and we've got better players I guess as well."

One of those players is flying Wests Tigers winger Jimmy Ngutlik who enthralled the 6968-rainsoaked fans with a dazzling 60-metre effort as the Kumuls made light work of the Welsh to round out the tournament's group stage.

"Jimmy is an exciting winger for us," Tepend said.

"We saw tonight what can happen if he's given a bit of space.

"I hope it's dry for him next week. It's exciting for the Kumuls because he's going to be around for a long time."

Ngutlik got a second try late in the game with back-rower Nixon Putt joining him on a brace. Kyle Labutt and Dan Russell contributed PNG's other two tries.

But the thing which left Tepend most satisfied was their defensive resolve as the Kumuls kept a team scoreless outside of PNG for the first time in 22 years.

"I think that reflects the tightness of the boys off the field," said Tepend, who has had the support of former Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan at this tournament.

"We had eight days in PNG before we came here and the performance really showed how (close) they are off the field."

The defeat meant Wales' attempt to win a World Cup game will stretch into a 25th year after failure to upset the Kumuls.

Coach John Kear has a side made up primarily of part-time players and commended their attitude in making Tonga, the Cook Islands and PNG fight for their wins.

"You really can't ask for much more," Kear said.

"I'm immensely proud of them and really pleased with what they offered.

"I think we've become everybody's second favourite team because of the endeavour and effort we are putting in."