Rugby Union BY FRANKIY KAPIN Morobe Rugby Union, the second biggest outside Port Moresby extends a hand to a local Lae village team adamant to break grounds into the 15s competition. Union president Winston Nenjipa said yesterday when announcing the start of season 2019 beefed up with the membership of a local Lae village team from the Ahi local government of Lae district. Nenjipa told the Post-Courier that the Butibam Mantics from Butibam village, one of the six Ahi villages who are the traditional landowners of Lae city have joined the competition for the first time this year. He said the drive taken by the Butibam village team is a call long awaited and for it to happen now is never too late or too early but must happen. He added that it was a boost to see a traditional landowner village of what is now Lae city take up the challenge, especially in the sport of rugby union. Nenjipa said the Ahi villages including Butibam village now taking this step gives them an equal standing in rugby union that has for far too long has been a dominating sport representing Lae and the Morobe province. The Butibam Mantics compose of local Butibam village boys led by former PNG Pukpuks, Ben Umba as head coach. Nenjipa also said that the MRFU 15s pre-season will kick off on Saturday at the Telikom College oval in Lae. He said old hands of the MRFU returned to fore stamping their return to another season including City Lights, Royals, Defence, Pirates, Vikings and Unitech Reds plus newcomers, the Mantics. Nenjipa said he is yet to confirm from the Lae Harlequins of their participation this season as they didn’t turn up on Saturday but are expected to do so in the last round of pre-season games next weekend. An eight team competition is planned out for MRFU season 2019.