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Rugby League World Cup: Wales lose third successive game
- Always prepared
- England boss hopeful over duo
- McNamara heading down under
- Hardaker eyes full-back berth
- England confirm Italy date
- Reed shoulders World Cup blow
- Sheens: Kiwis are favourites
- Parish takes on Samoa WC role
- Kiwis want Sonny Bill Williams
- Wales v Italy: Teams
- New Zealand v Samoa: Teams
- England v Australia: Teams
- PNG v France: Teams
- USA v Cook Islands: Teams
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Scotland v Italy: Teams
- Tonga v Cook Islands: Teams
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Knights power past Samoa
- Papa New Guinea sting Scotland
- New Zealand warm up in style
- Italy stun England in warm-up
- Kangaroos leap into final
- Fiji too strong for Samoa
- England stroll into semis
- Australia put USA to the sword
- Kiwis stroll into semis
- McNamara anticipates tough World Cup
- Sinfield targeting improvement
- Kearney expects spectacular World Cup
- McNamara accepts Burgess ban
- Rugby League World Cup hailed 'greatest'
- Brough targets World Cup quarter-finals
- Australia labelled favourites
- World Cup history
- NZ 42 Samoa 24
- England 42 Ireland 0
- Australia v Ireland
- USA 24 Wales 16
- France 9 PNG 8
- World Cup warm-ups
Wales were unable to finish their disappointing Rugby League World Cup campaign on a high note as the Cook Islands created history with a 28-24 victory in Neath.
The Kukis triumphed for the first time in the history of the tournament at the sixth time of asking, albeit only after holding off a brave Welsh fightback in the second half.
Centre Keith Lulia ran the show, scoring a first-half try, while Isaac John, Daniel Fepuleai, Dominique Peyroux also crossed to put the Cook Islanders 22-4 ahead. In the end, though, a 73rd minute try from Jonathon Ford proved crucial after the hosts had threatened to deny their opponents a maiden win.
Christiaan Roets bagged a brace of tries, and Lloyd White and Rhodri Lloyd also touched down after the break following a first-half effort from Rob Massam.
Yet their late surge was not enough to see them pick up a first point, following previous defeats to Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the United States in Wrexham.
The Cook Islands dominated early territory, and they deservedly went ahead after eight minutes when hooker Fepuleai powered over from close range and Chris Taripo added the extras.
Wales briefly responded when a break from Elliot Kear led to Massam touching down, though by the break they had conceded twice more at the other end of the field.
Lulia crossed unopposed just after the half-hour mark before Penrith Panthers player John skipped his way across for the Cook Islands' third try as the interval loomed.
There was no immediate sign of things improving after the restart for Wales either, Peyroux going over and Taripo's third goal from four attempts opening up an 18-point gap.
That try seemed to finally sting Wales into life; they fought back with tries for White and Roets in the space of eight minutes, with the former also successful with one conversion attempt.
Lloyd then scored 14 minutes from time, Danny Jones this time adding the goal via an upright, and all of a sudden Iestyn Harris' side found themselves only two points adrift.
However the Cook Islands refused to let that elusive first win slip from their grasp and Ford's well-worked try finally killed off any prospects of Wales completing their dramatic comeback bid.