Kiwis will test survival hope of Islands

Cook Islands will have to try and upset the odds when they play the second favourites for the World Cup at Reading's Madejski Stadium tonight. New Zealand scored 64 without reply against Lebanon in their opening Group Two game on Sunday and should comfortably see off their Pacific Island neighbours to book a quarter-final place. However, Stan Martin, the Cook Islands' coach, says the 1995 Emerging Nations champions will go out fighting in a match that will pit captain Kevin Iro against his former team-mates.

Cook Islands will have to try and upset the odds when they play the second favourites for the World Cup at Reading's Madejski Stadium tonight. New Zealand scored 64 without reply against Lebanon in their opening Group Two game on Sunday and should comfortably see off their Pacific Island neighbours to book a quarter-final place. However, Stan Martin, the Cook Islands' coach, says the 1995 Emerging Nations champions will go out fighting in a match that will pit captain Kevin Iro against his former team-mates.

"We're actually looking forward to it," said Martin. "We've got to win it if we want to stay here, so we're going out to win it. Realistically, it's going to be difficult but we're certainly not going to hold back."

Martin makes four changes to the starting line-up that lost 38-6 to Wales on Sunday. Meti Noovao comes in at loose forward and Tere Glassie, Peter Lewis and Michael Anderson are all promoted from the bench.

Wales take on Lebanon at Stradey Park, Llanelli, tonight and they are determined to clinch a quarter-final spot before they take on the Kiwis at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday. "We'd rather do it tomorrow than leave it to the game against New Zealand," said assistant coach Neil Kelly.

Wales, who have racked up 78 points in their last two internationals, are expected to be too strong for the Lebanese, who have been affected more than most by the bad weather with three of their players suffering mild hypothermia on Sunday.

However, the side is packed with experienced Australian league players and, in the Canterbury Bulldogs goalkicker Hazem El-Masri, nicknamed 'El Magic', they have one of the leading lights of the NRL.

South Africa's hopes of matching Papua New Guinea in their Group Three encounter in Toulouse have not been helped by the loss of their influential hooker Sean Skelton who yesterday underwent an operation to pin his thumb which was broken during Saturday's 66-18 loss to Tonga.

"This World Cup has to be seen as another stepping stone for the game in our country. We have to be realistic," said their coach Paul Matete.

"We were always expected to perform better in this tournament than we did in the 1995 World Cup and I maintain that we are doing so."

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015