2017 Rugby League World Cup qualification (Asia-Pacific play-off)

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup Asia-Pacific qualification play-off was a rugby league match that was played on 17 October 2015 at Campbelltown Stadium in Australia. Tonga defeated the Cook Islands 28–8 to qualify for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

2017 (2017) RLWC qualification
(Asia-Pacific play-off)  ()
12 Total
TON Tongamatemacolours.PNG 1216 28
COK Canberra colours.svg 80 8
Date17 October 2015
StadiumCampbelltown Stadium
LocationCampbelltown, New South Wales, Australia
Man of the MatchTonga Solomone Kata
RefereeAustralia Gerard Sutton
Broadcast partners


On 3 October 2014, the 2017 Rugby League World Cup qualifying competition was announced. Seven of the eight teams who made the knockout-stages of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup were announced as automatic qualifiers, which included New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and Fiji.[1]

In October 2015, Papua New Guinea was announced a co-host of the 2017 World Cup and granted automatic qualification.[2] It was confirmed that Tonga would take on the Cook Islands in a one-off game for the 2017 World Cup with the playing date later being confirmed as 17 October 2015.[3] The game was held at Campbelltown Stadium in Campbelltown, Australia.


Both teams picked preliminary train-on squads that had NRL and Super League experience.[4][5]


The Tongan squad as of 24 September 2015 is as follows:

Club Team Players
  Burleigh Bears   Nafe Seluini
  Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs   Danny Fualalo, Antonio Kaufusi
  Catalans Dragons   Michael Oldfield
  Cronulla Sharks   David Fifita, Malakai Houma, Saulala Houma, Pat Politoni, Anthony Tupou
  Gold Coast Titans   Leva Li
  Huddersfield Giants   Ukuma Ta'ai
  Hull F.C.   Mickey Paea
  Leigh Centurions   Fuifui Moimoi
  Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles   Tony Satini, Jorge Taufua, Siosaia Vave
  New Zealand Warriors   David Fusitu'a, Siliva Havili, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sione Lousi, John Palavi, Albert Vete
  Parramatta Eels   John Folau, Peni Terepo, Vai Toutai
  Penrith Panthers   Daniel Foster, Leilani Latu, Sika Manu, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
  Redcliffe Dolphins   Charlie Faingaa
  St. Helens   Atelea Vea
  Sydney Roosters   Willie Manu, Vaha Pulu
  Wests Tigers   Sitaleki Akauola, Asipeli Fine, Salesi Funaki, Delouise Hoeter, Joel Luani

Cook IslandsEdit

The Cook Islands squad as of 24 September 2015 is as follows:

Club Team Players
  Brisbane Broncos   Francis Molo
  Canberra Raiders   Ezra Howe, Jordan Rapana
  Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs   Makahesi Makatoa
  Cronulla Sharks   Tinirau Arona
  Halifax   Adam Tangata
  Melbourne Storm   Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Aaron Teroi
  Narellan Jets   Drury Low
  Parramatta Eels   Eric Newbigging
  Penrith Panthers   Tupou Sopoaga
  South Sydney Rabbitohs   Wallace Tangiiti
  Sydney Roosters   Reuben Porter
  Wentworthville Magpies   Fred Pakutoa
  West Belconnen Warriors   John Papalii
  Wests Tigers   Esan Marsters, Chance Peni
  Wigan Warriors   Anthony Gelling


Tonga picked 4 débutantes, while the Cook Islands featured eleven. The Tongan team consisted of National Rugby League based players except for Mosese Pangai and Ukuma Ta’ai, who play in the Queensland Cup for the Townsville Blackhawks and the Super League for the Huddersfield Giants respectively.[6] The Cook Islands team consisted mainly of players who play at reserve grade or youth levels for their respective NRL clubs, only 4 players in the lineup have played first grade this season either in the NRL or in the Super League.[7] Tonga's most capped player is Ukuma Ta’ai who made his 8th appearance for his country, while the Cook Islands' most experienced players are Drury Low, Anthony Gelling and Johnathon Ford who all made their 6th appearance for their nation.

Penrith's Sika Manu captained Tonga, and Canberra's Jordan Rapana led the Cook Islands.

Match detailsEdit

17 October 2015
Tonga   28 – 8   Cook Islands
Try: Tafua 13' c
Fonua 34' c
Kata (2) 63', 68' c
Terepo 74' c
Goal: Kata (4/5) 14', 35', 69', 75'
Try: Nicoll-Klokstad 4'
Gelling 23'

Goal: Rapana (0/2)
Campbelltown Stadium, Campbelltown
Attendance: 4,813
Referee:   Gerard Sutton
Player of the Match: Solomone Kata (Tonga)
FB 1   Solomone Kata
RW 2   Jorge Taufua
RC 3   Mahe Fonua
LC 4   Mosese Pangai
LW 5   Delouise Hoeter
SO 6   Pat Politoni
SH 7   Daniel Foster
PR 8   Albert Vete
HK 9   Joel Luani
PR 10   Peni Terepo
SR 11   Sika Manu (c)
SR 12   Manu Ma'u
LF 13   Joe Ofahengaue
IC 14   Nafe Seluini
IC 15   Ukuma Ta’ai
IC 16   Ben Murdoch-Masila
IC 18   David Fifita (came in as a late replacement for Leilani Latu)
  Kristian Woolf
FB 1   Jordan Rapana
RW 2   Drury Low
RC 3   Anthony Gelling
LC 4   Chance Peni
LW 5   Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
FE 6   Johnathon Ford (c)
HB 7   Wallace Tangiiti
PR 8   Uiti Baker
HK 9   Aaron Teroi
PR 10   Sam Mataora
SR 11   Esan Marsters
SR 12   Makahesi Makatoa
LK 13   Francis Molo
IC 14   Carne Doyle-Manga
IC 15   Vincent Rennie
IC 16   Vinny Ngaro
IC 17   Fred Pakutoa
  Alex Chan

With the win, Tonga qualified for the 2017 World Cup.[8]


  1. ^ QUALIFICATION DETAILS FOR 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP ANNOUNCED Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, rlef.eu.com, 3 August 2014
  2. ^ Papua New Guinea to co-host Rugby League World Cup, dailytelegraph.com.au, 8 October 2015
  3. ^ Date set for Cook Islands-Tonga play-off for Rugby League World Cup spot, abc.net.au, 13 August 2015
  4. ^ Tonga name preliminary train-on squad, nrl.com, 25 September 2015
  5. ^ Cook Islands train-on squad named, nrl.com, 25 September 2015
  6. ^ Tonga finalise squad for World Cup Qualifier, asiapacificrl.com, 9 October 2015
  7. ^ Cook Islands finalise squad for World Cup Qualifier, asiapacificrl.com, 10 October 2015
  8. ^ "Tonga qualify for 2017 World Cup". NRL.com. 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.