Fairleigh: We never underestimated USA

Cook Islands coach David Fairleigh says they didn’t underestimate the USA, and praised the Tomahawks control of the ball in difficult conditions.

USA came out 32-20 winners in the wind and rain at Bristol in a result that blows Group C, which also includes Wales, wide open.

Fairleigh said: “I was surprised considering the conditions how both teams, especially the USA, held on to the ball.

“They fully deserved the win. In the conditions, they controlled the ball really well.”

USA hadn’t been given much hope of winning any games at the World Cup, but a shock win over France in their warm-up game was followed by another fine performance, in Terry Matterson’s second game in charge.

Fairleigh added: “The competition has already seen many upsets, and there was another one here tonight.

“Going in to our preparation, we never underestimated the USA team. I watched them play against France and they played similar against us.

“Obviously, the next game becomes critical and they aren’t going to be any easier. The players need to dust themselves down and bounce back, and see where we go.”

The Cooks next game is a mouth-watering cross-over clash against Tonga at Leigh Sports Village on Bonfire Night.

They then travel to Neath to play Wales in a possible group decider on Sunday week.

Photo courtesy of www.swpix.com

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