2 Jul 2014

Sport: Cook Islands take learnings from Fiji thrashing, eye more matches

11:24 am on 2 July 2014

The Cook Islands rugby coach Barry George says despite missing out on a place at next year's World Cup, their is a now nucleus for the team to build on in the future.

The Cookies were thrashed 108-6 by Fiji, despite having been 6-5 in front after 29 minutes.

Barry George says they played really well at the start but the humid temperatures and superior conditioning of the Fiji players became too much.

"We sort of really defended, got in their faces and put it to them and actually created some play, got down there, had some field position and got a couple of penalties. But a ten minute spell before halftime they blew in three tries and then from there I think the boys and the conditioning, playing in 30 degree heat against a team of conditioned [players off the back of a] four-week campaign and all 14 of their 15 were full-time professionals, and the boys had just used everything they had in the tank and couldn't play that level for any longer than we did. We just started falling off tackles and then they got their tails up and it was like a sevens game played by fifteens".

Barry George says there were a few tears shed after the match but the team agreed they now have a strong core of players with which to develop the team around.

He says they would love to play more matches but need to find a way to fund it.

"The ideal would be a tour or to get into the Pacific Nations, where we can go and play the Reds and the Blues - those kind of development teams - more regularly and just get us playing. It's a funding issue obviously so it's about the Cooks trying to generate some more revenue, be it by approaching the IRB for more support. I think for the first 29 minutes we showed Cook Islands rugby is worth investing in - hopefully the IRB see that as well - and then obviously whether we can get more sponsors on board and stuff like that it's a big one".