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Tag players in form for world cup

Saturday April 07, 2018 Written by Published in Other Sports
New Zealand based Cook Islanders performed fantastically at last month’s Junior Oceania Tag Tournament, coming in second overall. PHOTO: CITFI. 18040605 New Zealand based Cook Islanders performed fantastically at last month’s Junior Oceania Tag Tournament, coming in second overall. PHOTO: CITFI. 18040605

The Cook Islands are heading into the Tag Football World Cup this November in top form, having been named the second overall nation at the recent Junior Oceania Tournament in Auckland.

 

Twelve Cook Islands teams were entered in the tournament, which contained 86 overall, last month.

Cook Islands were competing against New Zealand based players from countries such as Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji, Tokelau, Niue and Tonga, as well as a New Zealand Maori and invitational side.

Overall, the Cook Islands finished second, behind only to Samoa, who had 22 teams, and claimed gold in the under eights mixed, U10 boys and U12 girls.

In the U14 and 16 mixed, and U18 girls the Cook Islands all came second, and had they come first in just one of those, all which ended in dropouts (where teams drop players until a winner is confirmed), they would have come first overall.

“We were very pleased with the results of our tamariki (children) this weekend,” Cook Islands Tag Football Incorporation (CITFI) President Chrissy Piakura

“In 2016, at the Oceania for the Seniors, we managed to take the overall nation award. And to get second overall nation in our first ever Junior Oceania is wonderful. I am very confident that the future of Cook Islands Tag Football is in good hands.”

She said that the competition was a good stepping stone for the U18 boy’s and girl’s team as they prepare for the World Cup in Coffs Harbour in Australia, this November, as it gave them a gauge what they need to work on.

At the November tournament, the Cook Islands will be entering seven teams from New Zealand and 15 from Australia.

The 22 total teams will march together under one flag, which is expected to be 500 strong, the largest Cook Islands contingent to ever participate at an international tournament.

Following the World Cup, Piakura said that talks will finally begin with Rarotonga, with the aim to bring the game home and establish a solid foundation.

“Weekly competitions, workshops, annual tournaments and introducing Tag in schools at junior level will be all a part of the plan,” she explained.

“These things don’t happen overnight, but we will get there in good time, especially considering there are a few Cook Islanders in New Zealand and Australia that are willing to come home to help get the ball rolling.”

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