Sport: Mixed fortunes for emerging Pacific league teams

1:19 pm on 8 October 2018

It's been a case of mixed fortunes for Pacific teams at rugby league's Emerging Nations World Championship.

Niue have advanced to the Cup semi finals after beating the Philippines 24-12 to finish top of Pool A.

Niue celebrate topping Pool A after beating the Philippines.

Niue celebrate topping Pool A after beating the Philippines. Photo: Niue Rugby League

The Tamaraws had opened the scoring inside two minutes before the Rock scored four tries in 16 minutes to lead 18-6 at half-time.

Niue extended their lead early in the second spell to set up a second straight victory and secure a semi-final showdown against Greece, who thrashed Vanuatu 38-0 in yesterday's final round robin fixture.

"We expected the Philippines to come out strong like that, we didn't take them lightly for sure," said head coach Brendan Perenara.

"We played hard, played to our sets but we just fell off there early in the game where they scored straight away and we were just trying to get back on top of them but from there we just couldn't complete a set - we did three in a row and I think that was it."

Niue are through to the Cup semi finals.

Niue are through to the Cup semi finals. Photo: Emerging Nations World Championship.

Brendan Perenara admitted the result was a bit of a grind as they stare down the barrel of three games in seven days.

"A few of them stayed on for 80 minutes. It didn't help with Zeb Luisi getting sin-binned and we played with 12 for 10 minutes so that took a toll on us trying to get out of our half too."

"Especially coming from a two-day break and then going into today's game with the Philippines - that was a hard slog for the boys," said Perenara.

"I think it's starting to show in our (team) - we've got a couple of niggling (injuries) there so I think we've got to get on top of it before the semi final come Wednesday."

Hungary face Malta in the other Cup semi final on Wednesday, with Vanuatu up against Poland in the Trophy semi finals.

Meanwhile Solomon Islands outclassed Hong Kong 32-12 to notch their first win in the competition.

Coach John Jewiss said it was a vast improvement on their first-up defeat against Turkey.

"We got off to a really good start. Our completions were a lot better, less errors, less missed tackles and our structure, which we worked on during the week, really set it up for how we attacked today," he said.

Solomon Islands coach John Jewiss.

Solomon Islands coach John Jewiss. Photo: Emerging Nations World Championship.

"Our defence was so much better. We missed a few tackles against Turkey where today we defended really well, we controlled the play-the-ball so our defence could get set better and our attack we played flat, we played fast, we played straight."

"And both the halves played really good and really set the platform with the forwards going forward for us," reflected Jowiss.

The Melanesian side face a quick turnaround before taking on Japan in the bowl competition on Tuesday.

"It doesn't give us much time. We came out of the game with no injuries, which is a bonus for us, but it's a short turn-around," admitted Jewiss.

"Pretty much (Monday) is going to be a rest day and bit of recovery for the guys and then we turn-around and play Japan at five o'clock Tuesday night."

"It's not an ideal situation...but everyone was playing today so everyone was in the same boat - it's the only way we can fit all the games in in such a short format."