The hosts bowed out of the tournament by losing to Papa New Guinea 40-19 in front of a passionate crowd at the Bluesky Sports Arena, but John only saw improvement.
“Though I’m disappointed with the lost, I’m happy with how we played because we improved in every area.
John noted that because they are competing for players with rugby and rugby league, they are fighting a losing battle, but as the awareness spreads, more players may take up an interest.
New Zealand followed the Cook Island team in their match against New Caledonia, which was very competitive for the majority of the game, until ill-discipline cost the Kiwis, who went down 32-25.
The eventual champions, Tahiti, also were victorious in the days last game, triumphing over Australia 32-17.
Player of the tournament was Tevai Hanere of Tahiti, with the best goalkeeper award going to Mikael Safoka of New Caledonia.
6th Placing: Cook Islands, 5th Placing: Papua New Guinea, 4th Placing: New Zealand, 3rd Placing: Australia, 2nd Placing: New Caledonia, 1st Placing: Tahiti