Cook Islands national rugby league team

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Cook Islands
Badge of Cook Islands team
Nickname The Cooks
Governing body Cook Islands Rugby League Association
Region Asia-Pacific
Head coach David Fairleigh
Captain Johnathon Ford
Home stadium Avarua National Stadium
RLIF ranking 17th
First international
 Niue 8–22 Cook Islands 
(Rarotonga, Cook Islands; 1986)
Biggest win
 United States 8–64 Cook Islands 
(Featherstone, England; 1995)
Biggest defeat
 New Zealand 84–10 Cook Islands 
(Reading, England; 2000)
World Cup
Appearances 2 (first time in 2000)
Best result Group stage, 2000; 2013

The Cook Islands national rugby league team has been participating in international rugby league football competition since 1986. The team is controlled by the governing body for rugby league in Cook Islands, Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA), which is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC). They are currently ranked 17th in the RLIF World Rankings.



Before 1995, the Cooks’ international experience was limited to participation in the Pacific Cup, and hosting the touring British Amateur Rugby League Association Great Britain Amateur teams. Nonetheless, the sizeable number of expatriate Cook Islanders living and playing in New Zealand has ensured that they have never been short of players with rugby league experience.

They won the 1995 Emerging Nations tournament, defeating United States, Russia and Scotland before beating Ireland in the final.

In 1996 and 1997 the Cook Islands competed in the Super League World Nines. They also played several full internationals against other South Pacific nations, most notably as part of the Papua New Guinea 50th Anniversary Tournament in October 1998. 2000 saw the Cook Islands competing in the World Cup for the first time. They finished third in their pool after losing to Wales and the Kiwis and only managing a draw against Lebanon.


The Cook Islands successfully toured New Zealand in 2005 with a three test series against the New Zealand Māori ending in a draw after the first test was drawn 26–26 and the second and third tests were split between both sides.

The Cook Islands played Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in the Pacific pool of Qualifying for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. Fiji and Tonga qualified, and Samoa earned a second chance in the repecharge round. The Cook Islands, having lost to all three teams, were eliminated.

The Cook Islands participated in the 2009 Pacific Cup. Having beaten Samoa to earn a place in the tournament, they went on to defeat favourites Fiji and earn a place in the final of the competition.


The Cook Islands were given automatic entry into the 2013 Rugby League World Cup they were placed in Pool D alongside Wales and the United States before playing an Inter-Group match against Tonga. Going into the Tournament, 'the Kukis' had never won a World Cup match. The team lost to the USA and to Tonga, but they won their last match against the Tournament co-hosts Wales, making history for the sport of rugby league in the Cook Islands. This is the Cook Islands' best Rugby League World Cup result to date.

In October 2015 the Cook Islands took on Tonga in the Asia-Pacific elimination play-off to determine which of the two Asia-Pacific nations would qualify for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. After a tight first half, the Tongans would go on win the match scoring 16 points within the last 20 minutes of the game.


For all past and present players who have appeared for the national team, see Cook Islands national rugby league team players.

Current squad[edit]

The following players are a list of players selected in the Cook Islands national team preliminary train-on squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup qualifier against Tonga in October 2015.[1] *Note the squad's size will increase as the NRL and Super League finals series progresses. (caps and points apply for before the World Cup qualifier began):

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts. Club
FB Jordan Rapana (1989-08-15) 15 August 1989 (age 26) 2 4 Australia Canberra Raiders
WG Drury Low (1990-04-02) 2 April 1990 (age 25) 3 4 Australia Narellan Jets
WG Anthony Gelling (1990-10-18) 18 October 1990 (age 25) 5 4 England Wigan Warriors
CE Chance Peni (1994-01-17) 17 January 1994 (age 21) 0 0 Australia Wests Tigers
SO Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (1995-08-02) 2 August 1995 (age 20) 0 0 Australia Melbourne Storm
SH Aaron Teroi (1995-10-02) 2 October 1995 (age 20) 0 0 Australia Melbourne Storm
PR Francis Molo (1994-09-03) 3 September 1994 (age 21) 0 0 Australia Brisbane Broncos
PR Ezra Howe (1996-08-10) 10 August 1996 (age 19) 0 0 Australia Canberra Raiders
PR Adam Tangata (1991-03-17) 17 March 1991 (age 24) 4 0 England Halifax RLFC
PR Eric Newbigging (1994-02-27) 27 February 1994 (age 21) 0 0 Australia Parramatta Eels
PR Fred Pakutoa (1989-06-17) 17 June 1989 (age 26) 0 0 Australia Wentworthville Magpies
PR John Papalii 0 0 Australia West Belconnen Warriors
HK Wallace Tangiiti (1995-10-16) 16 October 1995 (age 20) 0 0 Australia South Sydney Rabbitohs
SR Makahesi Makatoa 0 0 Australia Canterbury Bulldogs
SR Tupou Sopoaga (1992-06-05) 5 June 1992 (age 23) 2 0 Australia Penrith Panthers
SR Reuben Porter 0 0 Australia Sydney Roosters
SR Esan Marsters (1996-08-17) 17 August 1996 (age 19) 0 0 Australia Wests Tigers
LF Tinirau Arona (1989-05-08) 8 May 1989 (age 26) 9 4 Australia Cronulla Sharks

Tournament history[edit]

Rugby League World Cup[edit]

Rugby League World Cup record
Year Result Position Pld W D L PF PA
France 1954 Did not participate
Australia 1957
United Kingdom 1960
Australia New Zealand 1968
United Kingdom 1970
France 1972
Australia New Zealand 1977
United Kingdom 1995 Did not qualify
France United Kingdom 2000 Group stage 13th 3 0 1 2 38 144
Australia 2008 Did not qualify
England Wales 2013 Group stage 9th 3 1 0 2 64 78
Total 6 1 1 4 102 222

Other competitions[edit]

The Cook Islands have also participated in:

Results and fixtures[edit]

Below are the previous 5 matches of the national team. For all past match results, see the team's results page.
17 October 2015
Tonga  22–8  Cook Islands
10 November 2013
Wales  24–28  Cook Islands
The Gnoll, Neath
Attendance: 3,270
5 November 2013
Tonga  22–16  Cook Islands
Leigh Sports Village, Leigh
Attendance: 10,554
30 October 2013
United States  32–20  Cook Islands
Memorial Stadium, Bristol
Attendance: 7,247
20 October 2013
New Zealand  50–0  Cook Islands
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Attendance: 4,638

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cook Islands train-on squad named". 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-09-25. 

External links[edit]