Although the initial result against Tonga was disappointing, losing 12-4, he was impressed that they improved in every subsequent game, which culminated in the third place finish.
“It was great to see the joy on their faces winning a medal which was the goal. The aim was for the gold, and we pushed the World Champion Australia, losing 14-8 in the semis,” Carlson said.
“By the time we played Tonga again for the bronze the girls were super confident, running in five tries and winning 20-0.”
Player of the tournament for the Cook Islanders was star fullback Apii Nicholls-Pualau, who was also named in the team of the tournament.
Another standout for Carlson was Kimiora Nati, who has also played for the New Zealand Black Ferns, who played a big part in the medal achievement.
“All the girls lifted their game to another level, particularly with co-captains Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate and Toka Natua taking the lead.”
- Conor Leathley