Cook Islands national rugby league team
|Governing body||Cook Islands Rugby League Association|
|Head coach||Tony Iro|
|Home stadium||Avarua Tereora Stadium|
| Cook Islands 22-8 Niue |
(Rarotonga, Cook Islands; 1986)
| Cook Islands 66-6 South Africa |
(Wentworthville, Australia; 2019)
| New Zealand 84–10 Cook Islands |
(Reading, England; 2000)
|Appearances||3 (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 23rd 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.
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 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.
In June 2019, Cook Islands took on South Africa at Ringrose Park in Wentworthville, winning 66–6. They then went on to play the United States at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville in November. They won 38–16, qualifying them into the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
- For all past and present players who have appeared for the national team, see Cook Islands national rugby league team players.
Rugby League World Cup
|Rugby League World Cup record|
|1954||Did not participate|
|1995||Did not qualify|
|2008||Did not qualify|
|2017||Did not qualify|
The Cook Islands have also participated in:
- Pacific Cup (since 1986)
- Super League World Nines (1996, 1997)
- Super League Oceania Tournament (1997)
- Papua New Guinea 50th Anniversary Tournament (1998)
- Pacific Rim Competition (2004)
Results and fixtures
Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by a Cook Islands national XIII at test level up until 18 December 2020.
|New Zealand Maori||11||4||1||6||36.36%||196||242||–46|
|New Zealand XIII||2||0||0||2||0%||6||62||–56|
|Papua New Guinea||5||0||0||5||0%||68||192||–124|
- Below are the previous 5 matches of the national team. For all past match results, see the team's results page.
16 November 2019
|Cook Islands||38–16||United States|
- "Cook Islands names side for South Africa Qualifier". postcourier.com.pg. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- "Head to Head". Rugby League Planet. Retrieved 18 December 2020.