Sevens straight into training in Auckland

Saturday March 30, 2019 Written by Published in Sports
The Rarotonga-based Cook Islands Sevens players and management with their families and supporters at the Rarotonga International Airport. 19032940 The Rarotonga-based Cook Islands Sevens players and management with their families and supporters at the Rarotonga International Airport. 19032940

The Cook Islands Sevens side wasted no time after arriving in Auckland on Wednesday, getting into training before flying out to Hong Kong today.

 

The national side was joined by the four overseas-based players as coach Vase Samania went through some drills to gel the players ahead of the three-day tournament which kicks off on April 5.

Samania said getting the combination with the overseas players in such a short time would be a challenge.

However he is optimistic of finding the right combination and building a strong bond between the players ahead of the tournament.

“The campaign has been great so far. The aim now is to use the two days we have in Auckland to gel the players and work on our games before we leave for Hong Kong,” Samania said before departing Rarotonga on Wednesday.

“We have some quality players in the side and hopefully we can get the combination right and iron out the weak links before our opening match.”

Cook Islands is grouped with Chile, Germany and Uganda in Pool G. The team will be competing in the World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier alongside 11 other nations.

In the other qualifiers pools, host Hong Kong is the top seed leading Pool E which has Tonga, Zimbabwe and Philippines while Pool F comprise Ireland, Russia, Uruguay and Jamaica.

The main draw (Pools A to D) will feature the teams that are part of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Samania earlier said he was wary of the teams in Cook Islands’ pool but hoped the side would put on a better performance than their last year’s outing at the tournament.

He said the aim was to advance through to the quarter-finals and better their rankings. For that, the side will need to finish in the top two in the pool competition.

Cook Islands Sevens – Stephen Willis (Captain), Robert Heather Jr (VC), Josua Koroitukana, Teina Savage, Vaehoolu “Leki” Leka, Matamanea Matapakia, Colati “Tua” Ravula, Tokerau Raru (Australia), Christian Vainerere (Australia), Walter Koteka (Australia), Owen Karati (New Zealand), Gene Te Amo (New Zealand); Non travelling squad members – James Kora, Tanire Mokoroa, Jason Potoru, Junior Napara, Stormmel Ruatoe.  Management: Head Coach – Vase Samania, Manager – Ashleigh Willis and Physio Jana Whitta.

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