New Zealand crush minnows Cooks Islands
New Zealand ran out 50-0 winners against the Cook Islands
The New Zealand Rugby League team thrashed the Cook Island Rugby League team in a World Cup warm-up match on Sunday at Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster.
The Kiwis comfortably avoided the avoided the fate that befell 3rd-ranked England and 4th-ranked France, who lost to 13th-ranked Italy (15-14) and 12th-ranked USA (22-18), respectively, by pummelling the Cookies 50-0.
Kiwis' hooker Issac Luke was a constant threat from dummy-half, creating arguably the try of the match, by taking a quick penalty tap before scampering 40 meters down field before throwing a long ball out wide to winger Jason Nightingale, who started and finished the scoring for the Kiwis.
The Kiwis always looked in control of the match, by scoring three tries within the first 16 minutes, through Nightingale, giant winger Manu Vatuvei and loose forward Elijah Taylor.
Bryson Goodwin's try in the 32nd minute closed the scoring for the half, and with a Shaun Johnson-goal, the Kiwis were ahead 24-0 at the half.
Cook Island wing Dominique Peyroux was disallowed a try early in the second half, before more misery was compounded on the New Zealand Warriors-winger, when he conceded a penalty try while trying to dislodge the ball in the act of a Dean Whare-try.
Further tries were scored by Johnson, Nightingale, Goodwin and fullback Kevin Locke, to complete the route.
Coach Stephen Kearney told 3 News the warm-up clash would benefit the kiwis, going into their World Cup opener against Samoa in Warrington in a week's time.
"There were parts of our game that were a bit rusty out there, but it was a good start for us," he said.
There were slight changes to the Kiwis starting line-up going into the unofficial test, with Manly Sea Eagles' vice-captain Kieran Foran being drafted into the squad to replace Thomas Leuluai, who was nursing a hamstring problem, while Roosters rookie Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was added to the interchange list before kick-off.
New Zealand 50 - Tries to Jason Nightingale (2), Vatuvei, Taylor, Goodwin (2), Johnson, Locke, penalty try; goals to Johnson (4), Goodwin (2), Locke.
Cook Islands 0
Referee: Phil Bentham
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