Rugby League World Cup: Papua New Guinea 32-16 Cook Islands – PNG boost quarter-final hopes

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Papua New Guinea moved up to second in Group D
Papua New Guinea moved up to second in Group D
Papua New Guinea (10) 32
Tries: Tai (2), Laybutt, Martin, Lam, Olam Goals: Martin (4)
Cook Islands (8) 16
Tries: Ulberg, Gelling, Iro Goals: Steven Marsters Penalties: Steven Marsters

Papua New Guinea kept their hopes of reaching the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals alive with a six-try win over the Cook Islands in Warrington.

Rodrick Tai and Kyle Laybutt crossed for PNG in the first half before Paul Ulberg’s try for Cook Islands cut the deficit to 10-8 at the break.

Rhyse Martin, Tai and Lachlan Lam then crossed for PNG after the restart.

Anthony Gelling and Kayal Iro scored late consolation tries either side of a Justin Olam score.

After a narrow loss to Tonga last time out, 2017 quarter-finalists PNG needed to avoid defeat against the Cook Islands to stay in contention for a place in the knockout stage.

Barring an unlikely swing in points difference, their win in Warrington means they will advance if they match the Cook Islands’ result against Tonga on Sunday. PNG face Wales in their final group match on Monday.

Papua New Guinea: Johnston, Ngutlik, MacDonald, Olam, Tai, Laybutt, Lam, Albert, Ipape, Namo, Put, Martin, Alick.

Interchanges: Russell, Yei, Appo, Boas.

Cook Islands: Iro, Ulberg, Gelling, Rennie, Marsters, Takairangi, Marsters, Moeroa, Teroi, Rennie, Peyroux, Piakura, Tetevano.

Interchanges: Makatoa, Ngatikaura, Noovao-McGreal, Moale.

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