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Two tries and a man-of-the-match performance from Parramatta Eels utility Joseph Paulo have helped the USA Tomahawks to their record first-win in the Rugby League World Cup over the Cook Islands.

The underdog Tomahawks held on in a see-saw match to win 32-20 in front of a vocal crowd at Memorial Stadium.

The Cook Islands started early, with a try to Brad Takairangi off the cross-field boot of Isaac John; with Jordan Rapana converting for a 6-0 lead.

The Tomahawks countered with some great attacking play and a reverse pass from Craig Priestly found Bureta Faraimo who slid across the line.

Joseph Paulo crossed for his first of two tries a short time later to put the Tomahawks in the lead, with a successful penalty goal kicked by Paulo extending it to 10-6.

The Cookies hit back with a try from Drury Low in the final minutes of the first half, tying the scores at 10-apiece.

The score see-sawed for the first 20 minutes in the second half, with Joseph Paulo bagging his second try after charging down a Takairangi kick.

Lulia Lulia from the Cook Islands was next to cross the white line, bringing the scores level again at 14-14.

USA nudged ahead again through Tuisegasega Samoa, who picked up a ball spilled by Paulo, with a conversion bringing the Tomahawks to a six-point lead.

But the Cook Islands werent prepared to cave; a superb long ball to Dominique Peyroux allowed him to score, with Rapana drawing level with the conversion.

The USA then put the pressure on, withMark Offerdahl and Craig Priestly scoring two quick tries, with Paulos conversions putting the Cookies out of reach.

USA 32:

(Joseph Paulo 2, Faraimo, Saoma, Offerdahl and Priestly tries, Paulo 4 goals)


Cook Islands 20:

(Takairangi, Low, Lulia, Samoa tries, Rapan 2 goals)

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