World Cup Preview: Tonga v Cook Islands

Tonga and Cook Islands both need to win to keep their World Cup hopes alive when they meet at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday night.

A win for Tonga would mean USA are through to the quarter-finals of their very first World Cup, and would also set up a frantic three-way fight for first place in Group C between Tonga, Scotland and Italy.

Scotland and Italy‘s 30-all draw on Sunday means they both have three points from their two games, and Tonga take on Italy in their final group game at Halifax on Sunday.

For the Cook Islands, they must win this one and against Wales in Neath on Sunday to stand any chance of preventing the Tomahawks earning top spot in Group D. The USA could secure their quarter-final berth regardless, if they beat Scotland at Salford on Thursday.

Cook Islands have made four changes from the team that was beaten by the USA in Bristol last Wednesday.

Chris Taripo comes in to replace Lulia Lulia on the wing, while Eko Malu of New Zealand Warriors gets his chance off the interchange bench.

There’s also a change at stand off, with Toulouse Olympique’s Jonathan Ford coming to in to replace Brad Takairangi, who switches to centre in place of Wigan WarriorsAnthony Gelling.

A near sell-out crowd is expected at Leigh, with strong ticket sales reported in the build-up to game.

Tonga squad: Glen Fisi’iahi (NZ Warriors), Mahe Fonua (Melbourne), Daniel Foster (Penrith), Konrad Hurrell (NZ Warriors), Brent Kite (Manly), Samisoni Langi (Sydney), Siuatonga Likiliki (Newcastle), Willie Manu (St Helens), Sika Manu (Penrith), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Mickey Paea (Hull KR), Pat Politoni (Cronulla), Nafe Seluini (Sydney), Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield), Jorge Taufua (Manly), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland), Peni Terepo (Parramatta), Daniel Tupou (Sydney), Siosaia Vave (Melbourne).

Cook Islands team: Drury Low (Canterbury), Chris Taripo (Newtown), Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast), Keith Lulia (Bradford), Jordan Rapana (Canberra), Jonathan Ford (Toulouse), Isaac John (Penrith), Zane Tetevano (Newcastle), Daniel Fepuluai (North Sydney), Dylan Napa (Sydney) Domnique Peyroux (NZ Warriors) Zeb Taia (Catalan), Tinirau Arona (Newtown), Interchanges: Hikule’o Malu (NZ Warriors), Joey Matapuku (North Sydney), Adam Tangata (Mount Pritchard), Sam Mataora (Canberra)

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