Rugby League World Cup: Wales lose third successive game
Last Updated: 10/11/13 5:35pm
Wales were unable to finish their disappointing Rugby League World Cup campaign on a high note as the Cook Islands created history with a 28-24 victory in Neath.
The Kukis triumphed for the first time in the history of the tournament at the sixth time of asking, albeit only after holding off a brave Welsh fightback in the second half.
Centre Keith Lulia ran the show, scoring a first-half try, while Isaac John, Daniel Fepuleai, Dominique Peyroux also crossed to put the Cook Islanders 22-4 ahead. In the end, though, a 73rd minute try from Jonathon Ford proved crucial after the hosts had threatened to deny their opponents a maiden win.
Christiaan Roets bagged a brace of tries, and Lloyd White and Rhodri Lloyd also touched down after the break following a first-half effort from Rob Massam.
Yet their late surge was not enough to see them pick up a first point, following previous defeats to Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the United States in Wrexham.
The Cook Islands dominated early territory, and they deservedly went ahead after eight minutes when hooker Fepuleai powered over from close range and Chris Taripo added the extras.
Wales briefly responded when a break from Elliot Kear led to Massam touching down, though by the break they had conceded twice more at the other end of the field.
Lulia crossed unopposed just after the half-hour mark before Penrith Panthers player John skipped his way across for the Cook Islands' third try as the interval loomed.
There was no immediate sign of things improving after the restart for Wales either, Peyroux going over and Taripo's third goal from four attempts opening up an 18-point gap.
That try seemed to finally sting Wales into life; they fought back with tries for White and Roets in the space of eight minutes, with the former also successful with one conversion attempt.
Lloyd then scored 14 minutes from time, Danny Jones this time adding the goal via an upright, and all of a sudden Iestyn Harris' side found themselves only two points adrift.
However the Cook Islands refused to let that elusive first win slip from their grasp and Ford's well-worked try finally killed off any prospects of Wales completing their dramatic comeback bid.
2013 Rugby League World Cup
This years' Rugby League World Cup has been hailed as the greatest of all time by the organisers. Australia claimed their 10th title by beating New Zealand in the final in front of a record attendance.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is confident the sport will capitalise on the success of hosting the World Cup.
We take a look back at the highs and occasional low from probably the best World Cup to date.
- Hetherington wants more cups
- Wallace commits to Scotland
- Widdop left gutted by defeat
- Tomkins devastated by defeat
- Burgess defends brother George
- Johnson expresses relief
- Kangaroos leap into final
- Sheens tribute to Civoniceva
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Burgess out to deny Williams
- Aussies wary of physical Fiji
- Foran highlights main threats
- Two video refs for World Cup
- Civoniceva gets Wembley buzz
- Fiji too strong for Samoa
- England disappoint McNamara
- England stroll into semis
- Sheens retains Slater hope
- Australia put USA to the sword
- Samoa v Fiji: Teams
- Williams injury played down
- Kiwis stroll into semis
- Sheens: Slater has learned
- Brough set for toughest test
- Scots ready for biggest task
- Kiwis wary of Henderson
- Farah dropped for US clash