Sports news in brief for November 11 – RNZ

Cook Islands sign off with first win of World Cup
The Cook Islands women’s team has beaten France in the women’s Rugby League World Cup.
The Cooks won 26-18 after leading 12-4 at half-time.
Photo: NRL Photos
They finish the tournament third in their group after defeats to Australia and New Zealand. Those two teams are guaranteed the top two places in the group and progress to the semi-finals.
Coach Rusty Matua said with the team having already qualified for ther 2025 World Cup in Paris, France, by competing at the England finals, they are now looking at two ways in which they can improve their game.
“We’ve inspired a lot of girls to get into the game but obviously for us it’s about trying to get them into the Aussie pathways and connecting with the Australians.
“That’s where the pathways and the real developments are, and that’s going to be our focus over the next two to three years.
“Also, we need to get more intermational matches alongside our Pacific sisters who are trying to qualify for the next World Cup and have more tests against New Zealand.”
Ex-Kiwi star Kata to make Tonga rugby debut
Tonga have named their squad to face Chile this weekend in the second round of the Autumn rugby internationals this weekend.
Former New Zealand and Tonga Rugby League international Solomone Kata makes his debut for the team against Chile.
Tonga’s ‘Ikale Tahi thrashed Spain 40-6 last weekend.
They then play Uruguay in Romania on November 20.
Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter has made eight changes and a few positional adjustments for their second Autumn Nations Cup match against Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.
“We want to give everybody a try during these three test matches. There is an opportunity for everybody to play and grow,” he said.
He added that the Flying Fijians need to display their best game and do everything right if they are to counter Ireland on Sunday morning.
“We will have to step up against Ireland. There is three main access we are working on; we want to work on how we carry the ball and clean the ball so have to provide a fastball, we want to improve our defense and we want to be on top of our game in our set piece” said Cotter.
Samoa play Georgia this weekend.
Tributes to ex-Manu Samoa manager
Tributes have been paid to former Manu Samoa team manager Va’aelua Aloi Alesana.
A family member told KHJ News he died at Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Apia.
Alesana had been Samoan team manager at two Rugby World Cups.
Players and officials who worked with him have been paying tribute saying there will never be another like him.
He is survived by his wife Petrina and their two young sons.
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