Cook Islands coach Stan Wright says his team have not given up hope of overturning a 23 point deficit in their two-legged Rugby World Cup qualifying playoff against Hong Kong today.

The territory oustcored the Kukis by four tries to nil when they played in Rarotonga last week, eventually winning 26-3.

Wright played professionally in Europe, including for champion side Leinster.

The coach said despite the comprehensive loss on home soil, he still believes his side can advance to the global repechage tournament that awaits the winner of the playoff.

“I have no doubt whatsoever. Will it be mission impossible? No,” he said.

“I won a Heineken Cup and against Northhampton we were 36 points down and we came out and won the game, so can we do it? Of course we can. Is the belief there? Absolutely.”

But Hong Kong assistance coach Andrew Hall said his side can still improve a whole lot more from their convicing victory in Rarotonga.

Hall said there has been plenty to work on heading into their rematch today.

“We got a little bit loose in the mid-stage of the second half. I think areas of our set piece can improve. Our restart and scrum was perhaps not as solid as it should have been,” he said.

“Stopping their momentum was always going to be a huge challenge and again there were times we allowed them to get too much front foot ball and once the Cook Island players get that they become very, very difficult to play against.”

-RNZ

 

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