Cook Islands close in on World Cup berth
July 14, 2013
The Cook Islands are one win away from securing a place at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England after defeating Papua New Guinea 37-31 to claim the 2013 Oceania Cup.
The Cook Islands, who have never appeared at a World Cup, will now play Fiji next year for a place at the sport's showpiece event. The winner of that match will qualify as Oceania One and will join Australia, hosts England, Wales and the Play-off winner in Pool A.
In front of a capacity crowd of just over 7,000 in Port Moresby, the Cooks delivered a composed performance in a thrilling match to come back from 12-3 down late in the first half to go into the interval with a 12-15 lead thanks to two quick tries from Jacob Masters and Ioane Ioane.
The second half was no less dramatic and despite the Cook Islands racing into a 29-12 lead with a quarter of the match to go, four tries in the final quarter from the home side, including a fine score from Butler Morris in the final minute, meant that the Cook Islands' passage was not secure until the referee blew for full time.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Ireland's Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton