The Cook Islands have caused one of the biggest boilovers in recent rugby league history with a 22-16 win over England at the women's World Cup in Sydney.

Te Amohaere Ngata-Aerengamate dived over with less than a minute remaining at Southern Cross Group Stadium, as the Cooks claimed their first win at a World Cup.

The Cooks were massive $18 outsiders before the game and sent shockwaves through the English camp ahead of their semifinal appearance.

After the Cook Islands led 16-0 at halftime, the Lionesses drew level with four minutes remaining. Kayleigh Bulman tip-toed down the sideline but Claire Garner's sideline conversion fell short.

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However, the Cooks found something in reserve with Inangaro Maraeara making a break from inside her own half before Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate popped a beautiful ball close to the line for Ngata-Aerengamate's try.

Despite the win, and finishing the pool stage equal with England on one win apiece, the Cook Islands failed to make the semifinals.

The English scraped through because of their superior for-and-against, with the Cooks made to pay for two heavy losses in the opening rounds.

The Cooks were given no chance after being flogged 58-4 by Australia and 76-0 by New Zealand in their opening two pool matches.