Young Kukis off to Sydney

Wednesday April 18, 2018 Written by Published in Sports

The Under-18 Cook Islands men’s sevens side departed New Zealand yesterday, as they make their way to Sydney to compete in the Oceania Rugby U18 Sevens Championships tomorrow (CI time).

 

In a round-robin format the Cooks will play matches against Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Samoa, before playing seeding matches on the final day.

The winner of this tournament will qualify to play at the U18 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October 2018.

“The team are in good spirits, with the full squad, including five local players, assembling for training last weekend in Auckland,” Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive Ben Koteka said.

Fiji, Australia and Samoa are all ranked ahead of Cook Islands in this tournament.

Their first match tomorrow will be against Australia at 1.44pm (CI time), and they will then get more than an hour’s break before facing the top side in the competition, Fiji, at 3.24pm.

Tonga, ranked one spot below Cook Islands at fifth, are the next opponents at 5.28pm, with the last match of the day for the local side being against Solomon Islands at 7.52pm.

Cook Islands open their Saturday matches against Samoa at 2.22pm, with the final matches taking place later in the day.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to build depth and also a challenge for our youth team to learn and grow, as well as serve our country on the rugby field. We wish them all the best on their journey,” Koteka said earlier in the month.

Papua New Guinea were unfortunately forced to withdraw both their male and female teams at the 11th hour from the tournament, due to financial issues.

“Oceania Rugby is disappointed that Papua New Guinea has had to withdraw from the championship due to financial constraints caused by late sponsorship withdrawals,” Oceania Rugby general manager Bruce Cook said.     - CL /OR

Squad: Faatauira Pepe, Brian Akava, David Napa, Tangimetua Akava, Thomas Daniel, Kalem Strickland, Ronan Lawrence, Jordan Tuakana, Yorel Albert Peter Alapaki, Ioane Opuu, Carlos Taua Heather, Rouru Nemia Teariki. Management: Head Coach - Shane Napa, Manager - Robbie Atatoa, Physio - Gareth O’Loughlin.

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