Cook Islands captain Zeb Taia wants his squad to embrace the Bristol public as he aims to make the quarter finals of Rugby League World Cup 2013, starting with a match against the USA at the Memorial Stadium on Wednesday (8.00pm).
The Cooks are based in Bristol for RLWC2013 and Taia, who plays for Catalan Dragons in Super League, wants to use the anticipation that is building within the team to make the most of their tournament, starting with a tricky game against the Tomahawks.
“It is getting exciting, the boys in the camp are raring to go,” said Taia. “We are excited to play at Bristol, they have got a good setup, good facilities that we are using down there and hopefully the town embraces us.
“We are going to be there for the next ten days doing a lot of promotional work so hopefully we can embrace those Bristol fans as well. It is going to be interesting and hopefully we can win them over.
“We are happy with where we are at in camp and we have got USA first at Bristol, so it is going to be interesting.
“Obviously the USA’s captain Joseph Paulo is a threat, he has been good for Parramatta Eels this year and they have got some class players so definitely there are a few players we need to look out for in their team.
“We are coming up against the USA and Wales, who are in our pool, and we have got a cross-over game against Tonga as well so we definitely want to win all of our games. If we can win our pool we will want to make it to the quarters.”
The Cook Islands head into their first match of RLWC2013 on the back of a 50-0 warm-up match defeat to New Zealand, though Taia believes that the game worked well for his side, who now know what to work on ahead of Wednesday evening.
“We definitely take a lot of positives out of the game against New Zealand into the USA match,” said Taia. “There were a couple of chances that we blew in the game.
“You look at the Kiwis and they are a star-studded team, they have a good forward pack. We tried to handle them up the middle and struggled a bit, but we take positives out of the game.
“We know what to work on now and we can look forward to the game against the USA.”
Cook Islands head coach David Fairleigh has named his 19 man squad to play USA at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday (20:00)
Tinirau Arona (Syndey Roosters)
Sam Brunton (Mounties Bundy)
Daniel Fepuleai (North Sydney Bears)
Jonathon Ford (Toulouse Olympique XIII)
Anthony Gelling (Wigan Warriors)
Isaac John (Penrith Panthers)
Drury Low (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Keith Lulia (Bradford Bulls)
Lulia Lulia (Shell Harbour)
Sam Mataora (Canberra Raiders)
Joseph Matapuku (North Sydney Bears)
Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters)
Dominique Peyroux (New Zealand Warriors)
Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders)
Tupou Sopoaga (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
Zeb Taia (Catalan Dragons)
Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast Titans)
Adam Tangata (Mounties Bundy)
Zane Tetavano (Newcastle Knights)