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Wales lose thriller at The Gnoll

10th November 2013, 15:51

Wales lose thriller at The Gnoll

Wales and Cook Islands scored five tries each but it was just the Cooks’ more accurate kicking that gave them the 28-24 win in a thriller in Neath.

Wales and Cook Islands scored five tries each but it was just the Cooks’ more accurate kicking that gave them the 28-24 win in a thriller in Neath.

 

In front of a crowd of 3,270 may well be the lowest of the World Cup but it was the largest at The Gnoll for many a year in any code of rugby and more than ten times South Wales Scorpions’ average attendance.

 

Wales survived on early scare when Daniel Fepuleai and Zeb Taia both had chances to score, but good defence caused the Cooks to lose the ball.

 

But the Islanders eventually took the lead when, from a penalty, Daniel Fepuleai, forced his way over the line. Christopher Taripo converted.

 

Wales scored one back on the quarter hour after Rhys Evans fed Rob Massam for the North Wales Crusaders man to score in the corner for his first Welsh try. Danny Jones missed the kick.

 

They could have taken the lead ten minutes later but Ross Divorty was pulled back after receiving a forward pass where he had a clear run for the try-line.

 

Cooks took advantage and took the lead from their next attack. A fine passing move saw Keith Lulia score in the corner. Taripo’s goal was wide and the visitors held on to a one-try lead.

 

Wales were trying to get an equalising score but with no success. Lloyd White knocked-on with 20 metres to go, then, after Wales reclaimed the ball, the Widnes half-back was again in action, but this time he was held up over the line.

 

But Cooks carried on penetrating the Welsh defence which was flimsy at best. As soon as they got back into Welsh territory they scored. This time it was scrum half Isaac John who dived over seemingly unchallenged, with Taripo easily kicking the goal as the half-time hooter sounded.

 

They carried on attacking after the interval and were rewarded with an early try. The Super League combo of Anthony Gelling and Keith Lulia made the metres, before a good move involving Isaac John and Anthony Ford gave Dominque Peyroux an opportunity he didn’t waste. Taripo goaled again and Cooks were 22-4 up.

 

Wales weren’t defending well but their decision making in attack was better than it was in their previous two games. They went over for their second try on 51 minutes. The out of position Peter Lupton, scrum half for the day, was stopped short of the line but from the next tackle, Lloyd White dived over before converting his own try.

 

Two more quick tries followed for Wales and both came from sets resulting from goal-line drop-outs.

 

First was when Christiaan Roets joined his Crusaders team-mate on the scoresheet after good work from Budworth and Lupton. White’s conversion attempt hit the post.

 

And the crowd erupted when Rhodri Lloyd dived over in the corner for Wales’ fourth try which Jones coolly converted.

 

Wales looked to have hit the self-destruct button after Dylan Napa picked up a loose ball for Jonathan Ford to score Cook Islands’ fifth. Christopher Taripo converted to extend their lead to 28-20.

 

However a fantastic Rhodri Lloyd run set up Christiaan Roets to run in for Wales’ fifth. Jones missed the goal so Wales were still four points down, and when they knocked on in their own half with seconds remaining, that was that and Wales finished bottom of the group.

 

WALES

1 Elliot Kear (Bradford Bulls)

2 Christiaan Roets (North Wales Crusaders)

3 Rhodri Lloyd (Wigan Warriors)

4 Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves)

5 Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders)

6 Danny Jones (Keighley Cougars)

7 Peter Lupton (Workington Town)

8 Ben Flower (Wigan Warriors)

9 Neil Budworth (Moranbah Miners)

10 Jordan James (Salford Red Devils)

11 Ross Divorty (Halifax)

12 Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)

13 Larne Patrick (Huddersfield Giants)

Subs (all used):

14 Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings)

15 Craig Kopczak (Huddersfield Giants)

16 Gil Dudson (Wigan Warriors)

17 Anthony Walker (St Helens)

Tries

R Massam (15), L White (51), C Roets (60 76), R Lloyd (67)

Goals

L White (52), D Jones (68)

 

 

COOK ISLANDS

1 Lulia Lulia (Shell Harbour)

2 Christopher Taripo (Newton Jets)

3 Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast Titans)

4 Keith Lulia (Bradford Bulls)

5 Rea Pittman (Cronulla Sharks)

6 Jonathon Ford (Toulouse Olympique)

7 Isaac John (Penrith Panthers)

8 Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters)

9 Daniel Fepuleai (North Sydney Bears)

10 Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons)

11 Tupou Sopoaga (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)

12 Dominque Peyroux (New Zealand Warriors)

13 Tinirau Arona (Sydney Roosters)

Subs (all used):

14 Sam Brunton (Mount Pritchard Mounties)

15 Anthony Gelling (Wigan Warriors)

16 Joseph Matapuku (North Sydney Bears)

17 Adam Tangata (Mount Pritchard Mounties)

Tries

D Fepuleai (8), K Lulia (31), I John (39), D Peyroux (46), J Ford (73)

Goals

C Taripo (9 40 47 73)