Cook Islands national rugby union team

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Cook Islands
Shirt badge/Association crest
UnionCook Islands Rugby Union
Head coachStan Wright
CaptainSam Anderson-Heather
First colours
First international
Western Samoa 24–18 Cook Islands
(1 September 1971)
Biggest win
Cook Islands 86–0 Tahiti
(2 June 2001)
Biggest defeat
Fiji 108–6 Cook Islands
(28 June 2014)

The Cook Islands is a third tier rugby union playing nation. They began playing international rugby in the early 1971. Thus far, the Cook Islands have not made an appearance at any of the World Cups.


In 1924 a scratch team of Rarotongan boys, including the late Sir Albert Henry, played the All Black Invincibles on their way to the United Kingdom. The game was drawn 0–0, although this could never be considered an official international.[citation needed]

The Cook Islands played their first official international on September 1, 1971 against Western Samoa, losing 24 points to 18. The Cook Islands went on to win against Wallis and Futuna the next day and then lose again to Samoa the day after.

The next time the Cook Islands played was nine years later in 1980, in a close game against a touring Italian side; the Cook Islands won by 15 – 6. Three years later they again played Samoa, again losing. The next match for the Islanders wasn't until 1996, when they played Papua New Guinea. Since then, they play regularly against them and fellow Pacific sides Niue and Tahiti.

While Niue and the Cook Islands are not members of the Pacific Tri-Nations competition, they can supply players for the Pacific Islanders'. The first and still sole player from Cook Islands to have represented the Pacific Islanders was Tu Tamarua, in 2004.

The best Cook Islands rugby players often play in New Zealand where there is a large Cook Island population.

The Cook Islands entered the play-off round 4 against Tonga for a berth at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but suffered heavy losses by 77–10 at home and 90–0 away, in 2006, being eliminated.

The Cook Islands entered recently Oceania Cup, but were surprisingly eliminated by Niue who beat them 18–7 at Rarotonga.

The 2013 Oceania Cup hosted by Papua New Guinea saw the Cook Islands record wins over Tahiti, Soloman Islands and the final hosts Papua New Guinea.[1] Cook Islands played and lost to Fiji in 2014 for the last spot (Oceania 1) at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[2]

World Cup record[edit]

Year Round Position Played Won Drew Lost Pts For Against
AustraliaNew Zealand 1987 Not invited
United KingdomRepublic of IrelandFrance 1991
South Africa 1995
Did not enter
Wales 1999
Japan 2019
Did not qualify

Current squad[edit]

Cook Islands squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup Oceania qualifiers.[3]

Notable players[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IRB.COM (14 February 2014). "One win, one dream for ambitious Cooks". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ IRB.COM (15 July 2013). "Cook Islands to play Fiji for a place at RWC". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  3. ^ "RWC hopes still have life". Cook Islands News. 14 June 2018.

External links[edit]