League sets top eight target for 2021 World Cup

Friday January 17, 2020 Written by Published in League
Cook Islands rugby league side is aiming for a top eight finish at the Rugby League World Cup 2021. Picture:RNZ/20011701 Cook Islands rugby league side is aiming for a top eight finish at the Rugby League World Cup 2021. Picture:RNZ/20011701

Cook Islands rugby league men’s side has set top eight target for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.

But the Tony Iro-coached side will have to overcome tough Pacific battles in the pool play in order to achieve that goal.

The Kukis are placed with Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Wales in Group D of the tournament which will be held from October 23 to November 27.

The national side has a good chance of overcoming Wales but it’s the Pacific brothers Tonga, one of the favourites to win the title, and PNG who will provide the challenge.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said any pool with Pacific teams in it will always be tough.

Carlson said they just have to accept the draw and prepare for it.

“At the end of the day it’s the team that comes into the World Cup prepared with the right frame of mind will get through. We learnt this the hard way during the 2013 World Cup. I think everyone was just happy to be there and lost sight of the purpose why we were there for,” he said.

“The goal is definitely to make the quarter finals and anything can happen from there. This also gives you automatic qualification to the Rugby League World Cup 2025.”

The Cook Islands women’s team have been placed in a tougher pool with giants Australia, New Zealand and France.

The Moanas also had Australia and New Zealand in their pool in the 2017 World Cup, alongside world number three England. The national side defeated England in the biggest upset of that tournament.

Carlson said: “They received a good thumping by the Aussies and worse by the Kiwis. The team have come a long way since and the rematch against these two top nations will be very exciting.

“France is a bit unknown at the moment but you can’t take any team for granted. I think that is what England thought in the last World Cup against us.

“Cook Islands is planning for an international test match this year as part of the preparation for the World Cup.”

Pools

Men’s: Group A - England, France, Greece, Samoa; Group B - Australia,  Fiji, Italy, Scotland; Group C - New Zealand, Ireland, Jamaica, Lebanon; Group D - Tonga, PNG, Wales, Cook Islands.

Women’s: Group A - England, Brazil, Canada, PNG; Group B - Australia, Cook Islands, France, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

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