Cooks on course as Russian sees red

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The Independent Online
The Cook Islands continued to kick sand in the faces of nations generally considered a fraction more powerful, following their defeat of the United States on Monday, by beating Russia 58-20 at Leigh in their second match of the Halifax Emerging Nations World Cup last night, writes Dave Hadfield.

Russia took an early lead through their loose forward Leonid Kiriakov, but were overwhelmed after that by the Cooks' superior speed of thought and movement which brought their winger Ngere Tariu four tries. The Russian second-row, Endrei Koryabin, became the first player in either this or the senior World Cup to be sent off, when he was dismissed in the second half for a high tackle after already spending 10 minutes in the sin bin.

In the other Group A match, Scotland moved a step closer to the final with a 38-16 win over the United States at Northampton. Yet for 30 minutes they were far from convincing as the competition's second favourites struggled to break down a stubborn American defence.

Indeed it was the Americans who took a surprise 6-2 lead in the 15th minute when Duke Ieriko chipped through for Rory Lewis to score and David Niu converted. But the Scots' relative experience soon told, with Darrall Shelford, the brother of Wayne, running in three of Scotland's seven tries, with the USA scoring three. Earlier, in the Group B match at Hilton Park, Moldova beat Morocco 24-19.

n All 30,945 tickets for Saturday's World Cup semi-final between England and Wales at Old Trafford have been sold.