Rugby World Cup dream over

Monday July 09, 2018 Written by Published in Rugby Union
The Cook Islands national rugby side lost their second match to Hong Kong 0-51 in the Rugby World Cup qualifying series over the weekend. PHOTO: HKRU. 18070802 The Cook Islands national rugby side lost their second match to Hong Kong 0-51 in the Rugby World Cup qualifying series over the weekend. PHOTO: HKRU. 18070802

The Cook Islands’ dream of playing in their first-ever Rugby World Cup came crashing down after a heavy defeat to Hong Kong in the second leg of the qualifiers over the weekend.

 

The national side lost the match played in Hong Kong on Friday night (CI time) 0-51. Cook Islands lost the opening leg of the series 3-26 at the BCI Stadium on June 30.

The win sees Hong Kong secure their place in the final four-team qualification tournament for Rugby World Cup 2019. That tournament will take place in November in France.

In the second leg of the qualifying series, Hong Kong led 17-0 at half time after opening tries from winger Salom Yiu Kam-shing and centre Max Woodward. Fly half Matt Rosslee converted both tries and added a penalty of his own to give Hong Kong an unassailable lead after the first 40 minutes.

Rosslee started the second half scoring with a penalty in the 46th minute to nudge the floodgates further ajar, with Jamie Hood and Alex Post adding tries in the final stanza.

Post notched a second-half brace in only his third test as he continues to stake his claim for a spot in what is a highly competitive front row.

A penalty try was levied against the Cook Islands to boot, while reserve fly half Ben Rimene added a drop goal to the proceedings to bring Hong Kong to 51-0.

“The host side proved too clinical for the wearied Cook Islands squad and went on to win with six tries and a number of successful penalties to solidify their victory in the second leg of their two-game, aggregate points series,” said a post on the Cook Islands Rugby Union Facebook page.

“In spite of their performance and lack of discipline, which cost them the game, the Cooks, who are ranked 54th in the world, still put up a brave effort against a more experienced side.”

The team left Hong Kong on Saturday and the players were looking forward to some much-needed recuperation, as well as time with their families and loved ones.

“While the results were not in favour of us, we are still proud of their efforts, and above all their sacrifices, passion and commitment to represent their country,” said the CIRU Facebook post.

“The jersey was not something each player took for granted and the pride they carried on their shoulders was monumental.

“We would like to congratulate each player, including those who started training with the national selection from the get-go, the coaching staff and management of our CIRU squad – for persevering and achieving so much in the limited time you had to prepare for these games. Your efforts deserve praise and highest accolades.”

            - RK/HK Rugby Union

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