2021 RLWC Round 3, Tonga 92 Cook Islands 10 – Report

Andrew Pelechaty reviews Tonga’s massive win over the Cook Islands …


Tonga 92
Tries: Will Penisini 4 (25, 31, 60, 74), Tesi Niu 3 (21, 28, 48), Daniel Tupou 2 (0, 63), Jason Taumalolo 2 (12, 19), Tuimoala Lolohea 2 (34, 57), Felise Kaufusi (39), Isaiya Katoa (43), Talatau Amone (77)
Goals: Isaiya Katoa 14 (14, 20, 23, 27, 30, 32, 36, 39, 45, 50, 61, 65, 75, 78)

Cook Islands 10
Tries: Steven Marsters (68), Tinirau Arona (79)
Goals: Tinirau Arona (79)


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With a quarter final spot secure, Tonga had a “free hit” game against the Cook Islands, who needed a win to keep their finals hopes alive.

But Tonga wasn’t in a charitable mood, and raced the clock to lead 52-0 at half-time.

Daniel Tupou began the carnage in the opening minute, followed by doubles to Jason Taumalolo (in the space of seven minutes), Tesi Niu, and Will Penisini (his second try was a penalty try after he was tackled off the ball).

Samoa kept on going after the break: Niu and Penisini brought up their hat-tricks, and Tuimoala Lolohea and Tupou secured their doubles.

It was 80-0 after only 65-0 minutes and the first century score of this tournament was in reach. And this was against a Cook Islands side who’d already beaten Wales and had a competitive loss to PNG.

But the Cook Islands finally hit back, with tries to Steven Marsters and Tinirau Arona (an intercept try in the final few minutes), to avoid conceding the ton. Meanwhile, Penisini scored his fourth try as Samoa became the second team in this RLWC to score 90+ points (after England had smashed Greece 94-4). Isaiya Katoa had a tidy haul too, with 32 points (a try and 14 goals).

After all that, Tonga booked a tantalising quarter final against Samoa, while PNG’s quarter final spot is safe – with a huge differential advantage over the Cook Islands – regardless of their result against Wales.

After so many hammerings these past three weeks, hopefully the Tonga v Samoa game is a worthy (and close) contest.

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