Kukis face Niue in build-up

Tuesday September 29, 2015 Written by Published in League
Jordan Rapana of the Raiders is tackled by Antonio Winterstein of the Cowboys during the round 21 NRL match between the NRL fi nalists North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville, Australia last month. He is one of the NRL players in the Kukis training on squad. Jordan Rapana of the Raiders is tackled by Antonio Winterstein of the Cowboys during the round 21 NRL match between the NRL fi nalists North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville, Australia last month. He is one of the NRL players in the Kukis training on squad.

The Cook Islands rugby league side are hoping to get a good hit-out ahead of their one-off 2017 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) qualifying match against Tonga next month.

 

The Kukis will need a win in the do-or-die clash on October 17 in Sydney to book their spot in the upcoming World Cup, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Cook Islands Rugby League (CIRL) has accepted an invitation from Niue to play them on October 3 in Sydney.

CIRL president Charles Carlson says the match will provide them with a timely build-up before the clash with the Tongans.

It will also help the national side test combinations and build on a winning formation.

Niue which is ranked 32nd in the world, has high hopes of becoming a dominant force in the Pacific. In their last hit-out in May, the side thrashed South Africa 48-4.

“They’re ranked top five in the Pacific Islands – we’re behind them but we haven’t even touched the surface. They’ve been in a couple of World Cups so should be a good game and (we’re) very excited that they’ve accepted our proposal to play a warm-up game against Niue,” Niue coach Brendan Perenara told Radio New Zealand.

“We want to play them and get that experience - what they’ve got - to tell everyone that we’re still out here, we’re still trying to go to a World Cup.”

Cook Islands released their preliminary training on squad last week and head coach Alex Chan is hoping to assemble the best squad to face Tonga.

“I certainly believe that our qualifying match against Tonga will unveil some exciting and entertaining players.

“I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what this squad is capable of.”

The 17th ranked Cook Islands have featured in two RLWC in 2000 and 2013.

The 2013 World Cup in the United Kingdom was the best for the side after recording the first win beating tournament co-hosts Wales.

 

Squad

Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Anthony Gelling (Wigan), Marata Niukora (Warriors), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Wallace Tangiti (Rabbitohs), Johnathon Ford (Wyong), Tinirau Arona (Cronulla Sharks), Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters), Tepai Moeroa (Parramatta Eels), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), Tupou Sopoaga (Penrith Panthers), Sam Mataora (Newcastle Knights), Adam Tangata (Halifax/UK), Makahesi Makatoa (Bulldogs), Eric Newbigging (Parramatta Eels), Chance Peni (West Tigers), Aron Teroi (Storm), Drury Low (CRL/Narellan), Rueben Porter (Sydney Roosters), John Papalii (West Belconnen), Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Moses Noovao-McGreal (Manly Sea Eagles), Francis Molo (Broncos), Fred Pakutoa (Wente-Magpies), Paul Ulberg (NZ Warriors), Charnze Nicoll Klokstad (Storm), Ezra Howe Jnr (Canberra Raiders), Carne Doyle-Manga (Wyong).

Coach: Alex Chan, Assistant: Ezra Howie, Technical Coach: Tony  Iro, Managers: Charlie Hoff, Tere Glassie  

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