Cook Islands national rugby union team

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

Cook Islands
Shirt badge/Association crest
UnionCook Islands Rugby Union
Head coachNathan Robinson
CaptainTupou Sopoaga
First colours
World Rugby ranking
Current53 (as of 16 January 2023)
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)

HistoryEdit

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.[1]

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.[2] Cook Islands played and lost to Fiji in 2014 for the last spot (Oceania 1) at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[3]

Overall RecordsEdit

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by an Cook Island's national XV at test level up until 25 July 2021.[4]

Team Mat Won Lost Draw Win% Last played For Aga Diff
  Fiji 2 0 2 0 0% 2014 3 161 –148
  Hong Kong 2 0 2 0 0% 2018 3 77 –74
  Italy 1 1 0 0 100% 1980 15 6 +9
  New Caledonia 2 2 0 0 100% 2003 82 13 +69
  Māori All Blacks 1 0 1 0 0% 1992 17 29 –12
  Niue 7 5 2 0 71.43% 2009 193 75 +118
  Papua New Guinea 7 4 3 0 57.14% 2013 163 153 +10
  Samoa 3 0 3 0 0% 31 102 –71
  Solomon Islands 1 1 0 0 100% 2013 39 12 +27
  Tahiti 9 7 2 0 77.78% 2017 419 128 +291
  Tonga 4 0 4 0 0% 2021 32 289 –257
  Wallis and Futuna 1 1 0 0 100% 1971 29 18 +11
Total 40 21 19 0 52.5% 1036 1063 -27

World Cup recordEdit

Year Round Position Played Won Drew Lost Pts For Against
   1987 Not invited
    1991
  1995
did not enter
  1999
  2019
did not qualify
  2023 did not qualify
Total

Current squadEdit

Cook Islands squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup Oceania qualifiers.[5]

Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Benjamin Tou Hooker (1988-02-15)15 February 1988 (aged 31) 1   Waipu Rugby Club
James Pakoti Hooker   Martinborough Rugby Club
Ezekiel Sopoaga Prop 1   Petone
Alex Matapo Prop (1982-05-26)26 May 1982 (aged 37)   Ponsonby
Antonio Ripata Prop 1   Auckland Rugby Football Club
Tuakana Paitai Prop 2   Morrinsville
Toru Katuke Prop   Avatiu Nikao Eels
Tahquinn Hansen Lock 1   Grammar Tech
James Kora Lock 4   Kerikeri Rugby Club
Oneal Rongo Lock 4   Kerikeri Rugby Club
Josh Caffrey Flanker   Avatiu Nikao Eels
Jardine Pumati Chung-Ching Flanker 1   Hastings Rugby Sports
Francis Smith Flanker   Arorangi Bears
Tupou Sopoaga (c) Flanker (1992-06-05) 5 June 1992 (age 30) 1   Petone
Robert Heather Flanker 3   Arorangi Bears
Leroy Henry-Jack Number 8 1   Pakuranga United
Toka Sopoaga Scrum-half 1   Harbour Rugby Club Otago
Allan Toki Scrum-half   Temuka Rugby Club
Te Puhi Rudolph Fly-half 1   Muriwhenua Rugby Club
Reece Joyce Fly-half   Bombay Rugby Club
Leon Ellia-Niukore Centre 1   Souths Rugby CLub
Junior Taia Centre 1   Shirley Rugby Club
Gideon Kautai Centre 1   Hastings Rugby Sports
Tevita Niusama Wing 1   Avatiu Nikao Eels
Materua Tupou Wing 1   Pirates Old Boys
Matamanea Matapakia Fullback 3   Geraldine Rugby Club
Mataroa Maui Fullback   Excelsior Rugby Club

Notable playersEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Albert Royle Henry". Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  2. ^ IRB.COM (14 February 2014). "One win, one dream for ambitious Cooks". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  3. ^ IRB.COM (15 July 2013). "Cook Islands to play Fiji for a place at RWC". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  4. ^ "team records". espnscrum. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Cook Islands name 14 new caps to face 'Ikale Tahi". 23 July 2021.

External linksEdit