Rugby XV preparing for Oceania test

Wednesday July 26, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Cook Islands national rugby coach Walter Tangata is working on combinations ahead of the looming Oceania Cup playoff match against Tahiti.

 

The one-off Test match – which serves as the opening Oceania Tier II qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup – will be held on Friday next week at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.

Tangata, who named seven overseas-based players in his initial 26-member squad, is hoping to use the remaining days to gel the players together.

The New Zealand-based players arrived into Rarotonga over the weekend and had a couple of runs with the local based players in the team.

“The plan in the remaining days is to build on the combination between the players. We have worked on the game plan but we need to fine-tune the combinations,” Tangata said.

“We also need to bond the players as there are seven who are from New Zealand. We hope to achieve that in the remaining days before the match against Tahiti.”

The overseas-based players are brought in to fill the specific positions which the local players are not fully equipped to cover, he said.

“One of the conditions we had with the overseas boys was that we needed them here at least two weeks prior to the match so we can work on our combinations.”

Tangata earlier said there were few top local players who could have filled the “specific positions” but they were not considered because of their lack of commitment to the national team.

He said they were hoping for some scrimmaging sessions this week to test on their combinations.  

Meanwhile the members of the national team will be at the BSP Bank from 10am to 2pm today, selling tickets and promoting the Cook Islands versus Tahiti match.

Cook Islands XV:

Francis Smith (Arorangi), Stephen Willis (Arorangi), Sean Smith (Arorangi), Mathew Mullany (New Zealand), Alex Matapo (NZ), James Kora (Tupapa), O’Neal Rongo (NZ), Walter Tangata (Avatiu), Li Ponini (Avatiu), Te-Ara Henderson (NZ), Tiano Arona (NZ), Rangi Piri (Tupapa), Greg Mullany (NZ), Longo Leuta (Titikaveka), Vatu Sika (Titikaveka), Ilai Arona (NZ), K C Kora (Tupapa), Christian Hosking (Takuvaine), Davey Mato (Tupapa), Mana Havi (Takuvaine), Tupou Faireka (Tupapa), James Tofilau (Titikaveka), Alex Olah (Avatiu), Timothy Tangirere (Titikaveka), Jamian Iroa (Tupapa), Paki Ngaoire-Mani (Avatiu).       

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