Tahiti have beaten the Cook Islands 13 – 9 to claim the title of Oceania Rugby Cup Champions and now advance to a the Aisa/Oceania play off for a place in the RWC 2019 repecharge qualifier. The inclusion of French club based players gave the team from Tahiti the lift it needed to win against their Polynesian neighbours for the first time. In wet and windy conditions at the BCI Stadium, Rarotonga, the visitors came out firing posting the first 3 points 2 minutes into the match thanks to the accurate boot of Andoni Jimenez. The home side responded 9 minutes later to have the scores level at 3 all. The first try of the match came 30mins after kick off when Vincent Perez crossed for Tahiti, the same passage of play saw Greg Mullany issued a yellow card. Gulliaume Brouqui crossed again for Tahiti to score the second try for the match at the 44th minute of the first half.
The second half saw plenty of action without any score change. Reds cards to Tahiti’s Martin Taeae and Samuela Longo Leuta from the Cook Islands saw both teams down to just 14 players before the final whistle.
“Congratulations to Tahiti it was a well fought game” said Cook Islands captain Francis Smith, before thanking their supporters and behind the scenes helpers. He further said that “the boys were disappointed with the result but proud to be Cook Islanders and the team will come back from this loss”.
Tunui Anania Tahiti captain said “firstly I want to thank our hosts the Cook Islands for today’s match and secondly I just wanted to say that I am very proud of the guys, for us this is a historical victory, the first time winning the Oceania Rugby Cup made more beautiful as it was our first win against the Cook Islands”.
“We are absolutely stoked with today’s result, it has been very humbling” said Romi Ropati, Tahiti Coach. “The boys are going to enjoy tonight and celebrate with friends and Family when we return home tomorrow, after that we will look forward to our preparation on the next step for Rugby World Cup qualification.
Tahiti 13 (TRIES: Perez, Brouqui | PENS: Jimenez | YC: Taeae, Tekurio| RC: Taeae) defeated Cook Islands 9 (PENS: Iroa 3 | YC: Mullany, Willis, Havi, | RC: Leuta)