23 Oct 2022
What are the teams for Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands men in the Rugby League World Cup?
Both coaches have named their squads for the crunch Group D clash
By Paul Martin
Papua New Guinea are looking to bounce back while Cook Islands are gunning for two wins from two in an intriguing Group D clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Tuesday.
The contest brings the second round of group games to a close and will be pivotal to both sides’ quarter-final ambitions, with Papua New Guinea knowing defeat will likely see them face an early trip home.
Papua New Guinea make two changes to the squad that lost 24-18 to Samoa, with Jimmy Ngutlik and Jeremiah Simbiken coming in for Sherwin Tanabi and Xavier Coates.
There are three alterations to the Cook Islands squad, Tinirau Arona, Moses Noovao-McGreal and Vincent Rennie coming in to a squad captained by Brad Takairangi.
Papua New Guinea: 8 Wellington Albert, 13 Jacob Alick, 18 Keven Apo, 23 Watson Boas, 9 Edwin Ipape, 1 Alex Johnston, 7 Lachlan Lam, 6 Kyle Laybutt, 3 Nene MacDonald, 12 Rhyse Martin (captain), 10 Sylvester Namo, 19 Jimmy Ngutlik, 4 Justin Olam, 11 Nixon Putt, 15 Daniel Russell, 20 Rodrick Tai, 22 Jeremiah Simbiken, 17 Emmanuel Waine, 16 McKenzie Yei
Cook Islands: 1 Kayal Iro, 2 Paul Ulberg, 3 Anthony Gelling, 4 Esan Marsters, 5 Steve Marsters, 6 Brad Takairangi (captain), 7 Johnathon Ford, 8 Makahesi Makatoa, 9 Aaron Teroi, 10 Tepai Moeroa, 11 Dominique Peyroux, 12 Brendan Piakura, 13 Zane Tetevano, 15 Tinirau Arona, 16 Reubenn Rennie, 17 Rua Ngatikaura, 18 Moses Noovao-McGreal, 20 Davvy Moale, 21 Vincent Rennie
Papua New Guinea have the historical edge, having won all five of their previous matches against the Cook Islands.
They have scoring at least 32 points in each game during that period but the 32-22 win over the Kukis in their last meeting was the closest margin in the history of this fixture.
The Cook Islands were the only team to overcome a half-time deficit to win in Round 1, becoming just the third team to win after trailing at the break since the start of the 2013 tournament.
Papua New Guinea record
Papua New Guinea have won three of their last four group stage games at the men’s Rugby League World Cup, scoring 50+ points in a game twice in that span.
Before that, they had won only three of their 25 group stage games at the tournament.
Cook Islands record
The Cook Islands have won three of their last four men’s internationals including an 18-12 win over Wales in Round 1 fixture, as many as they had won in their eight games prior.
The Kukis have now won their last two games at the men’s Rugby League World Cup after not winning any of their five previous games at the tournament, with both wins coming against Wales.
Players to watch
- Rhyse Martin (84) is 16 shy of 100 points for Papua New Guinea; he has scored 10 points or more in four of his last seven games for the Kumuls including a 10-point haul against Tonga in Round 1.
- Cook Islands duo Anthony Gelling (111) and Kayal Iro (111) made more post contact metres than any other players in the opening round of group stage fixtures.
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets, via the stadium ticket office (from 16:30) or from the South & West Stand cash turnstiles.