Cook Islands Moana perform the pre match haka against Australia yesterday. 22110202
Cook Islands Moana went down fighting to reigning champions Australia Jillaroos 74-0 in their opening women’s Rugby League World Cup clash in England yesterday.
the loss, the national side put on a gutsy performance against one of the
favourites in the tournament.
Moana trailed 36-0 at the break. When the two teams met in the 2017 world cup,
the Jillaroos defeated Moana 58-4.
Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said Australia as the defending champions
had set the standard so high that it was always going to be a challenge.
also have the luxury of picking the best from their NRL competition and the
state of origin teams. These players have been playing together for number
years compared to our lot who just assembled together over a week ago for the
first time since 2017 World Cup.”
said the heavy loss reaffirmed the need for the team to “play at least one international
game every year as we prepare for the World Cup 2025 in France”.
the men we all know what is required to compete at this level, we must select
players playing NRL to be competitive at this level and there is no but about
we don’t have the numbers and depths of players like they have so it’s a matter
of developing a database of our players coming through the system and also provide
the pathway and exposure through international games.”
the loss, Carlson said the match against the Jillaroos was a good experience
for the players as they prepare to take on Kiwi Ferns on Sunday.
Bremner scored four tries in her return to international rugby league to help
her side start their World Cup campaign with a big win.
While it was a big win to Australia, they didn’t have everything
their own way with the Cook Islands putting in some strong defensive hits,
forcing the Jillaroos into making more errors than expected.
The Jillaroos went into the game without a
warm-up match, opting instead for an intense training camp before leaving
Australia for the UK, but in the end it didn’t adversely affect the reigning
Overall, Australia made a statement to the
tournament with a big win which saw the side make 2000 metres, in contrast to
690m for Cook Islands.
Cook Islands prop Kerehitina Matua proved to be a crowd favourite,
producing some huge hits.
Moana young gun Chantay Kiria-Ratu attracted attention before the match
as a player to watch and she performed well in her international debut, but it
was her halves partner in the more experienced Kimiora Breayley-Nati who
produced the most pressure on the Jillaroos, with some clever kicking being
rewarded with back-to-back sets.
Jillaroos coach Brad Donald said: “The girls were
fantastic, I think it just shows how much that they were looking forward to
playing. All credit to the Cooks, they kept showing up, (but) our girls were
just on their game. We’ve got a little bit of work to do, but really, really
good. We have a fair few players who will get a run in four days’ time and are
looking forward to getting on the field as well.”
In the other Group B clash Kiwi Ferns defeated France 46-0.
Cook Islander Apii Nicholls, who scored a try in the win, was
named player of the match for her work at fullback for the Ferns.
“I wouldn’t have been able to perform the way I did without my
team,” Nicholls said while accepting the award.
“We did start a little bit slow but we were able to pick up at
the end of it. Our girls did well and really proud of them.”