The third edition of the annual two-day tournament will kick off on Friday next week.
CIRLA competition coordinator Taua Benioni said to bolster the development of the sport, the Asia Pacific Rugby League International Federation (APRLIF) had agreed to send their consultant and provider for coaches, Shane Whitton from Sydney, for the CIRL Club Nines tournament.
Whitton will be assisting CIRLA throughout the tournament and will run a three day evening coaching workshop with all clubs, starting on Monday, January 8, from 5pm.
“It is a necessity that clubs have their coaches attend as this will result in having all coaches certified with a level two approval through the APRLIF and also for our clubs meeting the CIRLA requirements,” Benioni said.
Early this year, CIRLA ran a similar programme with former Kiwi Tony Iro, who was the special guest at this year’s tournament.
“We have done the same for our referees as all participating referee officials are certified every year,” Benioni said.
“Rugby league has picked up immensely within the last five years here in the Cook Islands. Visiting teams, tri-series, affiliated states (Australia), imported players joining our clubs and our international teams have attributed to the success of the sport so far.
“We want to continue this by bringing qualified and certified coaches and officials to help improve the sport further.”
Benioni is hoping that with the help of the overseas officials, the upcoming Nines tournament will be a successful one.
Seven teams have been confirmed for the tournament. They include defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels, TKV Warriors, Tupapa Panthers, Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles, Titikaveka Bulldogs, Arorangi Bears and newcomer Queensland Kukis. These teams will battle for the $5000 top prize money.
The Aitutaki Sharks who have not featured in the last two Nines tournaments, have once again withdrawn from the event.
“Eight more days and it’s all on. Just got notice our Queensland Kukis have now bolstered their team up from 16 to 20,” Benioni said.
“Their captain/coach and organiser Malcolm Uri played here recently with the Aussie Kukis in the last Tri-series and is looking forward to the challenge.”
The CIRL Nines tickets have been distributed to all six league clubs for sale. Tickets cost $10 for both days and $7 per day at the gate.
Tickets will also be available at stores around the island starting with the Tepuka Store at Nikao.
For enquiries regarding tickets contact Taua Benioni on 50893 or Elizabeth Tou, 52681.
Day One – 12.30pm Queensland Kukis-Eels, 12.55pm Sea Eagles-Bulldogs, 1.20pm Warriors-Panthers, 1.45pm Bears-Queensland Kukis, 2.10pm Eels-Bulldogs, 2.35pm Panthers-Sea Eagles, 3.00pm Warriors-Bears, 3.25pm Queensland Kukis-Bulldogs, 3.50pm Eels-Sea Eagles, 4.15pm Panthers-Bears, 4.40pm Queensland Kukis-Warriors, 5.05pm Panthers-Bulldogs, 5.30pm Sea Eagles-Bears, 6.00pm Eels-Warriors; Day Two – 12.00pm Queensland Kukis-Sea Eagles, 12.25pm Panthers-Eels, 12.50pm Bulldogs-Bears, 1.15pm Sea Eagles-Warriors, 1.40pm Queensland Kukis-Panthers, 2.05pm Eels-Bears, 2.30pm Warriors-Bulldogs