World champions New Zealand and Cook Island set to clash at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium

Cook Islands training at Cantley Park. Photo: Rob Terrace
Cook Islands training at Cantley Park. Photo: Rob Terrace

An outstanding line-up of rugby league stars will be right on the doorstep when Doncaster hosts the World Cup warm-up match between champions New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

Tickets are on sale for the mouth-watering clash which will be staged at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

The impressive Kiwis will line up against the Cook Islands a week before England hosts the rugby league World Cup - a trophy New Zealand are defending.

This weekend’s warm-up in the borough was organised through the connections of Doncaster Dons’ chief executive Carl Hall - a fellow Kiwi and former rugby star.

Both squads have already arrived in Doncaster and have been taking on a tour of the borough to meet fans and train at Cantley Park.

Kevin Iro, commissioner of Cook Islands Rugby League, expects a fantastic spectacle at the Keepmoat.

“I think it is going to be an awesome occasion and the ideal build-up to the World Cup for us,” he said.

“We really appreciate what Carl Hall, a really good friend of mine, has done with the Dons for being able to host this.”

Sonny Bill Williams will have to wait another week to make his eagerly-awaited return for the Kiwis after being omitted from the side to play the Cook Islands in a World Cup warm-up match at Doncaster on Sunday.

Coach Stephen Kearney has decided to rest the players involved in the NRL Grand Final.

This means the Sydney Roosters forward will go straight into the team for the opening match of New Zealand’s World Cup defence against Samoa at Warrington on Sunday, October 27.

With Manly Sea Eagles scrum-half Keiran Foran also rested, former Wigan favourite Thomas Leuluai will partner his New Zealand Warriors team-mate Shaun Johnson at half-back.

The match does not carry Test-match status and both sides will play with a minimum of 18 players and unlimited interchange.

Matchday tickets are on sale at the Keepmoat Stadium ticket office.

Prices have been frozen at the £20 for adults, £15 for concessions, £5 for under 16s with under 5s free of charge.

The ticket office number is 01302 762576.