Tonga sensational as Kristian Woolf’s men thrash Cook Islands 92-10 to waltz into World Cup quarter-finals

TONGA waltzed into the World Cup quarter-finals with an emphatically impressive 92-10 win over Cook Islands.

Tonga set the tone from the very first minute with Daniel Tupou crossing, though Isaiya Katoa missed the conversion.

Jason Taumalolo doubled the lead with a tremendous barging run to the line and then the North Queensland Cowboys forward went in for his second around the midway point in the first-half.

Tonga were cutting apart the Cook Islands left, right and centre and Isaiya Katoa was the beneficiary of a great break from Felise Kaufusi.

Will Penisini dotted down from a beautiful Soni Luke grubber kick on 25 minutes as the Kukis proved no match for Tonga with Tesi Niu doing exactly the same from a Tupou kick inside moments later.

Tonga were handed a penalty try just after the half hour when Penisini was brought down before he received the ball as Isaiya Katoa made it 40-0 with the boot.

Tui Lolohea was the next on the scoresheet as Kaufusi brought up 50 with the hooter sounding.

It was obvious the Kukis needed a break after an incredible Tongan onslaught in the first-half, but Isaiya Katoa grabbed his second within four minutes of the second-half resuming.

Niu registered his second following a superb Moses Suli break before Lolohea burrowed over from dummy-half following a stunning Tupou break with 20 minutes still remaining.

Penisini ran under the posts moments later off a Lolohea break with Tupou notching another on 64 minutes. Isaiya Katoa’s conversion brought up the 80-point mark.

Finally, the Kukis stemmed the Tongan tide as Steven Marsters finished well in the corner, but his conversion attempt went wayward, reducing the deficit to 74.

The one-way traffic quickly resumed, however, as Penisini weaved his way through for a hat-trick with six minutes to go. Katoa’s 12th conversion of the afternoon made it 86-4.

Talatau Amone got in on the act a minute later, but the Cook Islands tallied up double figures seconds from the end with Brad Takairangi intercepting from 15 metres out. Incredibly, Takairangi passed to Tinirau Arona in one of the most unselfish acts on a rugby league field you will ever see. Arona converted from in front to make it 92-10, but the afternoon firmly belonged to Tonga.


Tesi Niu, Daniel Tupou, Moses Suli, Will Penisini, Sione Katoa, Isaiya Katoa, Tui Lolohea, Addin Fonua-Blake, Soni Luke, Moeaki Fotuaika, Felise Kaufusi, Keaon Koloamatangi, Jason Taumalolo (C). Subs (all used): Talatau Amone, Tevita Tatola, David Fifita, Ben Murdoch-Masila

Tries: Tupou 2, Taumalolo 2, Niu 3, Penisini 3, Lolohea 2, Kaufusi, I Katoa, Amone
Goals: I Katoa 13/15

Cook Islands

Kayal Iro, Steven Marsters, Esan Marsters, Geoff Daniela, Paul Ulberg, Brad Takairangi, Johnathon Ford, Makahesi Makatoa, Aaron Teroi, Tepai Moeroa, Dominique Peyroux, Brendan Piakura, Zane Tetevano. Subs (all used): Tevin Arona, Tinirau Arona, Davvy Moale, Dylan Napa

Tries: S Marsters, Arona
Goals: S Marsters 0/1, Arona 1/1

Half-time: 52-0
Referee: Ashley Klein
Scoring sequence: 4-0, 10-0, 16-0, 22-0, 28-0, 34-0, 40-0, 46-0, 52-0; 58-0, 64-0, 68-0, 74-0, 80-0, 80-4, 86-4, 92-4, 92-10
Venue: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough