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Kiwis romp past Cook Islands in warm-up

DONCASTER, Oct 20 PA/AAP - New Zealand warmed up for their defence of the World Cup with a 50-0 rout of the Cook Islands in Doncaster
Kiwis romp past Cook Islands in warm-up
by AAP

DONCASTER, Oct 20 PA/AAP - New Zealand warmed up for their defence of the World Cup with a 50-0 rout of the Cook Islands in Doncaster.

Winger Jason Nightingale started and finished the scoring and centre Bryson Goodwin also scored two of the nine tries as the Kiwis comfortably avoided the fate that befell England and France.

Both of those nations suffered shock defeats at the hands of World Cup minnows in their warm-up matches over the weekend.

New Zealand were without five members of Sydney Roosters' NRL Grand Final-winning team but standoff Kieran Foran, from beaten finalists Manly, was drafted into the side.

Foran replaced Wigan favourite Thomas Leuluai, who rested a hamstring injury.

Hooker Issac Luke was a constant threat at dummy-half and created one of the tries of the match, after taking a quick penalty tap, scampering 40 metres, and throwing a long ball for Nightingale to score.

Coach Stephen Kearney says the hitout will benefit his players ahead of their World Cup title defence, which begins against Samoa in Warrington on Sunday.

"There were parts of our game that were a bit rusty out there, but it was a good start for us," he said.

"The improvement areas are in both defence and attack, to be fair, and given that some of the guys haven't played in six weeks it was a good performance, but our focus for this week is to improve both areas." The Kiwis never looked back after running in three tries in the first 16 minutes through Nightingale, winger Manu Vatuvei and loose forward Elijah Taylor but they had to wait until eight minutes before halftime for their next score, when Goodwin touched down Foran's delicate kick for his first try.

Shaun Johnson kicked his fourth goal to make it 24-0 at the break and any hope of the Cook Islands getting back into the contest disappeared when their winger Dominique Peyroux had a try disallowed for putting a foot in touch two minutes into the second half.

The misery for New Zealand Warriors back Peyroux was compounded shortly afterwards when he conceded a penalty try after his kick dislodged the ball from centre Dean Whare's grasp in the act of scoring.

Kevin Locke added the goal to stretch the Kiwis' lead to 30-0 and the holders added further tries through Goodwin, Johnson, Locke and Nightingale.


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