The Papua New Guinea men’s sevens team are playing catch-up heading into the World Cup after going without top-level competition since the Commonwealth Games in April.

The Pukpuks men also competed in the Sydney and Hamilton legs of the sevens World Series earlier this year as well as the World Series Qualifier in Hong Kong.

But coach Dougie Guise said the last few months had been tough.

“We just began preparation about three and half weeks ago so we haven’t had many lead-up tournaments but it’s been a good camp and we’re looking forward to taking on Canada, which is our first game at the World Cup,” he said.

“It’s not too many (tournaments) but it’s the best we can have considering the amount of competition and top tier teams in Oceania.

“Until we can get qualified we just have to make do with what we have.”

Papua New Guinea have been forced to select a very different squad from the one that competed on the World Series this year.

There were two new caps, two players had switched to rugby league and others were unavailable due to injury and work commitments, Guise said.

“Most of the boys have been involved in the local competition in Port Moresby and a couple of centres outside so match fitness isn’t too much of a problem,” he said.

“But just the high level competition of sevens will probably be the difference between us and Canada, who have already played about three or four tournaments over the last couple of months.”

Twenty-four teams are contesting the men’s World Cup with PNG among 16 sides involved in the Championship Cup Qualifying Round on Saturday.

The Women’s World Cup also kicks off at the weekend with the PNG Palais up against World Series winners Australia in the opening round.

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