Kukis aim for Nines Champs

Thursday April 27, 2017 Written by Published in League

Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA) is hoping to gain participation in the second Commonwealth Nines Championship which will be held in Australia next year.

 

The tournament is endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Federation and will be held in lead up to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The criteria for the final participating countries in this event is yet to be confirmed by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). 

But the Cook Islands among several other Pacific teams are deemed in contention to compete in the championship which will feature between eight to 12 teams.

CIRLA president Charles Carlson said the first exhibition tournament held in Scotland was by invitation only.

But Carlson, who is also the RLIF board director, added this upcoming one being held in Australia would certainly draw more Pacific teams to be involved.

“The Cook Islands has expressed their interest to participate in this tournament and so have many of the Pacific teams,” he said.

“The RLIF Board is meeting in two weeks and this will be one of the issues on the agenda. The long-term goals for RLIF is to have rugby league in the Commonwealth Games and this is part of the development towards that goal.

“Personally, the more teams we have in this tournament the better provided they meet the RLIF criteria.”

The inaugural Commonwealth Championship was held in 2014 in the Under-18 grade and won by Papua New Guinea.

Participants in the 2014 event included Wales, Scotland, Jamaica, Canada, Australia, Scotland, England and South Africa.

The 2018 championship will also be age restricted, however, the age for players in the team will increase to U23s.

So far hosts, Australia, defending champions Papua New Guinea, England and South Africa have been finalised for the championship to be held on February 23 and 24 in Brisbane.

Apart from the Cook Islands, the other rugby league nations which are eligible to take part in Commonwealth Games Federation sanctioned events include Cameroon, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

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