Top CI squad for Commonwealth Nines

Tuesday February 13, 2018 Written by Published in League
Toka Natua scored a hat-trick in the Black Ferns win over England in the Rugby World Cup fi nal last year. Natua is expected to be a force at next week’s Commonwealth Nines tournament for the Cook Islands. 18021213 Toka Natua scored a hat-trick in the Black Ferns win over England in the Rugby World Cup fi nal last year. Natua is expected to be a force at next week’s Commonwealth Nines tournament for the Cook Islands. 18021213

An ace Cook Islands rugby league squad has been assembled to compete in next week’s Commonwealth Nines tournament in Queensland.

 

Recently anointed New Zealand Rugby League Women’s Player of the Year, Apii Nicholls-Pualau, and Kiwi Ferns star Kimiora Nati headline the squad.

The team will also include Black Ferns Toka Natua and Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, who both represented the Moana at last year’s successful run at the Rugby League World Cup.

Next Wednesday the team will meet in Brisbane for the two-day tournament that begins on Thursday (CI time).

“It is always a challenge assembling a squad together, especially when we have to fund our way to this tournament to represent the Cook Islands,” Cook Islands Rugby League Association president Charles Carlson said.

“But we always find a way to get there to rep our nation with pride.”

Carlson said that it was an incredibly tough selection process, as a number of contenders put their hand up to represent the Cooks.

“There is always going to be some disappointment, but at the end of the day this is what the coaching management have agreed will be the best team possible for this nines tournament.”

Four players will be making their Cook Islands debut at the tournament – Nati, Mazelina Haurua, Jean-Shannel Robati and Tenielle Peyroux.

“It is always good to introduce new players into the squad, providing they are playing at that high level of competition, to help build a bigger pool of players,” said Carlson. 

Commonwealth Nines squad: 1. Apii Nicholls-Pualau (Auckland, New Zealand), 2. Mazelina Haurua (Auckland, New Zealand), 3. Cecelia Strickland (NSW, Australia), 4. Inangaro Maraeara (NSW, Australia), 5. Jean-Shannel Robati (Victoria, Australia), 6. Kiritapu Demant (Auckland, New Zealand), 7. Kimiora Nati (Auckland, New Zealand), 8. Toka Natua (Tokoroa, New Zealand), 9. Katelyn Arona (Christchurch, New Zealand), 10. Karol-Ann Tanevesi (NSW, Australia), 11. Te Amohaere Ngata-Aerengamate (Auckland, New Zealand), 12. Kersal Johnson (NSW, Australia), 13. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (Auckland, New Zealand), 14. Jayne Kareroa (Victoria, Australia), 15. Tenielle Peyroux (NSW, Australia).

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