Tonga win but need results to go their way to qualify for next round

Konrad Hurrell

They may have won the game – a nail-biter of a game in fact against the Cook Islands – but in order to make the next round of the Rugby League World Cup, Tonga will need the USA Tomahawks to do them a favour and that is to beat the Scottish side.

With the US guaranteed a spot in the next round, their approach to the game will be one to watch, but it will be one that the Tongans hope is enough to outplay the Bravehearts.

“We definitely need a favour,” Kite said.

“I’m not sure what they’re thinking. They’ve played well to get themselves in the position they’re in.

“I’m just hoping they’re not going to take this one easy and rest too many.

“I’m not too proud to beg. Get out there USA and give us a win. We’d much appreciate it and we’d owe you one.”

For Tonga and on the game itself, it was a see-sawing affair, as both sides produced some great play at times and sloppy play at others.

It was ultimately the Tongans who came away with a 6-point victory – a 22-16 win – but there was effort galore from the Cook Islands and a hat-trick to boot by young winger, Chris Taripo.

“I’m pretty impressed with the competition so far,” Kite added.

“I think everyone, especially the emerging nations, seem to be able to beat anyone else on their given day.

“I’ve been surprised at some of the quality. Scotland obviously knocked us off and the Cook Islands gave us a good run.

“It’s been well supported up here in the north and credit to the organisers who are packing out the little stadiums. There’s good atmosphere and good results to go along with it.”

The second straight loss in the tournament means that the Cook Islands are out of the competition but despite that, coach David Fairleigh says he was pleased with his side’s overall play.

“We’re obviously disappointed but it was a great game of rugby league and I can’t question our players efforts,” Fairleigh said.

“We were there at the end to give ourselves a chance to win the game and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

One player who did impress and who for the moment – at least at the NRL level – has gone unnoticed, Chris Taripo did his chances of a potential squad spot in 2014, scoring a hat-trick.

“He’s a bit of an unsung hero for us,” Fairleigh said. “He got a chance tonight.

“He’s in the lower grade for the Roosters but he’s a good talent and he certainly put himself on display tonight.”

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