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Cook Islands national rugby league team

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.

Cook Islands
Badge of Cook Islands team
Team information
NicknameThe kuki's
Governing bodyCook Islands Rugby League Association
Head coachTony Iro
CaptainAlex Glenn
Home stadiumAvarua Tereora Stadium
RLIF ranking23rd
First colours
Team results
First international
 Cook Islands 22-8 Niue 
(Rarotonga, Cook Islands; 1986)
Biggest win
 Cook Islands 66-6 South Africa 
(Wentworthville, Australia; 2019)
Biggest defeat
 New Zealand 84–10 Cook Islands 
(Reading, England; 2000)
World Cup
Appearances3 (first time in 2000)
Best resultGroup stage, 2000; 2013



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.

They won the 1995 Emerging Nations tournament, defeating United States, Russia and Scotland before beating Ireland in the final.

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 participated in the 2009 Pacific Cup. Having beaten Samoa to earn a place in the tournament, they went on to defeat favourites Fiji and earn a place in the final of the competition.


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.


Tournament historyEdit

Rugby League World CupEdit

Rugby League World Cup record
Year Result Position Pld W D L PF PA
  1954 Did not participate
  1995 Did not qualify
    2000 Group stage 13th 3 0 1 2 38 144
  2008 Did not qualify
    2013 Group stage 9th 3 1 0 2 64 78
      2017 Did not qualify
  2021 qualified
Total 6 1 1 4 102 222

Other competitionsEdit

The Cook Islands have also participated in:

Results and fixturesEdit

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
Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville
Attendance: 2,621
21 June 2019
Cook Islands   66–6   South Africa
Ringrose Park, Sydney
Attendance: 2,621
6 May 2017
Papua New Guinea   32–22   Cook Islands
Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 18,271
8 May 2016
Cook Islands   30–20   Lebanon
Belmore Oval, Sydney
Attendance: 2,000
17 October 2015
Tonga   28–8   Cook Islands
Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 4,813

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Cook Islands names side for South Africa Qualifier". 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.

External linksEdit