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Tonga hit record score against Cook Islands

Parramatta centre Will Penisini scored four tries for Mate Ma'a Tonga as they registered their biggest ever Test win by beating Cook Islands 92-10, securing top spot in Group D in the process. 

Daniel Tupou crossed inside the opening minute, and from there Tonga piled on 15 more tries, with skipper Jason Taumalolo enormous in his first game of the tournament following suspension, scoring two tries and running for 171 metres in the middle. 

While the contest was over by halftime, at which point Tonga led 52-0, Cook Islands did bounce back to score a couple of tries in the second half, but had no answer for their ruthless opponents on the day. 

In a game in which they enjoyed 64 percent of the possession, Tonga ran for almost 1200 metres more than Cook Islands and completed all but four of their 36 sets. 

Match Snapshot

  • The win was Tonga's biggest ever on the international stage, easily surpassing their previous largest winning margin of 64 points.
  • Will Penisini had a hand in almost a third of Tonga's 16 tries, with four of his own plus an assist.
  • In his first game back from a suspension picked up in the NRL finals, Jason Taumalolo earned player of the match honours with a powerful display that included 171 run metres and two tries.
  • Daniel Tupou scored before the game was even a minute old, with Taumalolo securing his double inside the opening 20 minutes.
  • Tesi Niu and Penisini scored the next four tries as both hit personal doubles.
  • Tuimoala Lolohea and Felise Kaufusi scored before the break and, coupled with Isaiya Katoa's eight conversions, it meant Tonga led 52-0 at the half.
  • Further tries to Katoa, Niu, Penisini, Lolohea and Tupou followed. 
  • Penisini then grabbed his fourth, while Talatau Amone's 77th minute try rounded out the scoring for Tonga.
  • Cook Islands did score a pair of consolation tries in the final 15 minutes through Steven Marsters and retiring forward Tinirau Arona. 

Play of the Game 

Tesi Niu is credited with the try, but this one also involved some lovely build up play from teammates. Sione Katoa's patient, tackle-breaking run to find a gap sent Mosese Suli through, at which point he turned on the gas and put on some nice footwork to break the line, before finding Niu looming in support. 

What They Said

"Very disappointing. I thought we competed really well our last two games and I didn't see that coming to be honest. Apologies to our supporters and fans, it wasn't acceptable. End of the day we didn't turn up." - Cook Islands coach Tony Iro. 

"I thought we were outstanding and had a different intent about us from the start. That was a lot more like us and certainly showed the class and ability we have got. I am comfortable with where we sit and think we have more left in us as well." - Tonga coach Kristian Woolf. 

What's Next 

Tonga are through as Group D's top side and will face either Samoa or France in the quarterfinals. Cook Islands head home having unfortunately saved their poorest showing for last.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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