Kukis all set to face PNG

Friday May 05, 2017 Written by Published in League
Cook Islands rugby league players during the meet and greet session with the supporters this week. 17050420 Cook Islands rugby league players during the meet and greet session with the supporters this week. 17050420

The Cook Islands rugby league side is all set to battle the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in the Pacific Test tonight at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

 

The national side led by Brisbane Broncos forward Alex Glenn last played the Kumuls four years ago. The Kukis lost that match 14-42.

The team had a few run under the guidance of coach Tony Iro this week to prepare ahead of this one-off Test match which will kick off at 7pm (CI time).

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said the match was important for the team.

With the national team missing out of this year’s Rugby League World Cup, Carlson said the match would ensure opportunity for their players to play international league.

“This is a very important game to us to ensure our ongoing participation in the Pacific Test bearing in mind we, the Cook Islands, have been ignored from the Test the past four years.”

“Secondly, PNG was also supposed to qualify for the World Cup 2017 in the qualifiers against Cook Islands and Tonga but because they have the funds to host a couple of the World Cup games they had an automatic entry.

“So there is a lot riding on this game for us.”

Iro will be relying on skipper Glenn and the handful of experienced players he has in his squad to guide the young team, which has a number of debutantes.

“We’ve selected a few young guys who have shown a real passion and desire to represent so we’re confident they’re going to deliver on the day,” Iro earlier told Radio New Zealand.

“We’ve surrounded them with a few old heads, who have been there and done that, but we’re just looking forward to the week.

“Test matches and official test matches have been few and far between for the Cook Island team so to have this one part of what’s going to be a really exciting weekend is great for our game and hopefully it will encourage some guys of Cook Islands heritage to put their hand up.”

The Pacific Rugby League Test triple-header will also see Fiji taking on Tonga and Samoa battling against England.

Meanwhile, the national team was hosted by the Sydney Cook Islands community earlier the week.

Carlson said it was fantastic to see the support from the Cook Islanders for the team.

Cook Islands Kukis squad: Charnze Nicol-Klokstad –Warriors, Geoff Daniela – Illawarra, Esan Masters - West’s Tigers, Marata Niukore – Parramatta, Reuben Rennie – Mounties, Johnathan Ford – Toulouse, Isaac John – Mounties, Makahesi Makatoa – Canberra, Aaron Teroi - Newcastle (UK), Uiti Baker - West Newcastle, Carne Doyle-Manga - Tweed Heads, Alex Glenn – Brisbane, Esra Howe Junior - Tweed Heads, Moses McGreal - Sunshine Coast, Sam Mataora – Newcastle, David Munro – Townsville, Reuben Porter - Sydney City, Kobe Tararo - Gold Coast

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