The United States made history as they powered past the Cook Islands to claim their first ever victory in the World Cup.


In a match where momentum swung back and forth, the Rugby League newcomers finished strongly to sweep their opponents aside. Two late tries sealed an emphatic result that will live long in the memory.





The Cook Islands made the early running, testing their opponent with some powerful running. Just three minutes into the game the deadlock was broken when Isaac John's floated cross-field kick deflecting into the path of Brad Takairangi who touched down, with Jordan Rapana converting for 6-0.


The USA worked their way back into the match with steely resolve. Positive attacking play found Craig Priestly in acres of space and his reverse pass was wonderfully judged to find Bureta Faraimo who slid across the line. Captain Joseph Paulo's conversion missed the posts by a whisker to leave them two points adrift.


The USA gained momentum and quickly found more joy, a long kick causing confusion amongst the Cook Island backs. Lelauloto Tagaloa had the composure to feed his skipper, Paulos finish giving them the lead at the end of an impressive opening quarter


The islanders were looking increasingly frustrated and poor discipline resulted in the USA kicking a penalty to make it 10-6.


With the half drawing to a close the Cooks looked to hit back, Drury Low latching on to a clever offload from Isaac John and charging across line to make it all square at half-time.


The USA started the second half in positive fashion, a kick by Takairangi was charged down by Joseph Paulo and he made no mistake to grab his second try of the game. A missed kick did little to dampen their spirits as they moved 14-10 in front.


However, the Cook Islands struck back just minutes later, Low was involved in more flowing build up play and he fed the charging Lulia Lulia who touched down to bring the scores level. Unable to find the target from an acute angle, Rapana missed up the chance to send his side ahead.





Moving into the final quarter the ever-present Joseph Paulo was tackled close to the oppositions line but the ball sprung free to Tuisegasega Samoa who darted between the onrushing tacklers to score, Joseph Paulos conversion extending their lead to six points.


Desperate to get back on terms, the Cooks launched a series of attacks and a superb long ball to Dominique Peyroux enabled him to score with Rapana drawing them level with his second goal.


With just nine minutes remaining a strong run by Mark Offerdahl from close range enabled him to power his way past a static defence to make it 24-20.


The USA continued to press. Joseph Paulo capping a fine performance with a towering kick to the Cook Islanders line. Craig Priestly followed up at pace, catching the ball and touching down in one brilliant movement. Paulos conversion stretched the margin to 10 points and he then added a conversion to send the travelling transatlantic faithful into raptures of applause at their 32-20 victory.