Cook Islands ended their participation in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy with a satisfying 54-15 win against Jamaica at the Stade Français Club in Santiago on Sunday to finish in seventh place.
Their win was based on their attacking qualities yet lacked some of the glow because of the defensive attitude of the plucky Jamaicans who would simply not lie down. They tackled throughout the game and if beaten it was due to either the strength or superior skills of the Cook Islanders.
Both teams can return home in the knowledge that their tournament has ended with them showing some bits of good rugby.
Although Cook Islands scored nine tries, Jamaica managed to score twice, much to their team and the spectators’ delight.
Their celebration of the second try by Kenneth Walker - who benefited from a recovered ball and good running from team mate Fabian Atkinson - was a highlight of the match.
Whilst the players from the Pacific dominated the scrums, the lineouts were a far more even set piece, with the boys from the Caribbean stealing a few of the opposition ball.
Overall, both teams enjoyed the occasion and the spectators who ventured in early in what promises to be a full house at the Stade Français, enjoyed a game that was far from being technically perfect but with the way both teams threw the ball around ensured it was a most enjoyable occasion.
Triple try-scorer George Pamatatau said he was happy with his own game, adding that “the tournament was really good for all of us. We would have loved to finish in a higher position but we can now go home happy.”
“A highlight of our trip was the way the team got together and it is something that we’ll always remember.”
In speaking with IRB.com, Jamaican flanker Clifford Clarke also said that “the way we have been treated by everybody here has been great. We’ve learnt huge lessons, one of which being that we need to work harder as the teams we played against were all big.
“We sincerely hope that we can come back to this tournament next year and after this year’s experience we will certainly be a lot better.”