8 Oct 2012

Sport: Cook Islands hold on to beat Lebanon

11:32 am on 8 October 2012

Cook Islands made a winning return to international rugby league against Lebanon, but not before surviving a second half scare.

The Pacific side, who were playing their first test match in three years, won 28-24 but did their best to squander a 22 point lead in the dying minutes, leaving Cook Islands Rugby League Commissioner Kevin Iro a frustrated figure.

"Pretty disappointing because obviously we had probably eight or nine players had NRL experience so we went into the match as favourites. It was a really tight first half - I mean the Lebanese team really brought it to the boys, but as the second half wore on the experience of the Cook Islands boys took over and they looked like they were going to do it comfortably at 28-6 and for some reason the last ten minutes they slackened off and the Lebanese boys came back with three really quick tries and conversions and they were unlucky not to score a fourth right on the death."

The New South Wales Cook Islands Under 20s team also won the corresponding curtain-raiser, while earlier in the week the Cook Islands Sports Academy thrashed the Australia Navy Academy 48-0 in a rugby union match.