Perfect hit out before Tahiti battle

Monday July 31, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union
National XVs squad member Walter Tangata makes a run against a select club in the hit out session on Saturday at the BCI Stadium. 17073015 National XVs squad member Walter Tangata makes a run against a select club in the hit out session on Saturday at the BCI Stadium. 17073015

The Cook Islands national XVs side received a timely boost in a hit out session from a local select team ahead of the Oceania Cup Test match against Tahiti this Friday.

 

The Walter Tangata-coached team played an 80 minutes match divided into four quarters against the Andrew Iroa-coached side made out of players from some Rarotonga clubs.

Tangata used the match to give his 25-member squad some game time and also try out the combinations he has been working on.

“We are getting there. I think the hit out was quite timely for us,” he said.

“There are few things we obviously need to work on but I think it’s something positive for us to look forward to.

“I think the boys understand what we did well and what we can actually work on, so the next few days is quite critical for us but I have faith in the team that we can put on a good challenge this Friday.”

The Tahitians arrived into Rarotonga on Saturday. They have included eight France-based players in their squad for this week’s match.

The chairman of the Tahiti Rugby Union, Charles Tauziet, said they have 52 players involved in French rugby competitions but a number of them were unavailable.

“No, because their clubs don’t release them. We have three: one in Colomiers, one in Agen and one in Lyon that cannot be released because they are young players and they play for professional teams and if the team said no and they come (to play for Tahiti) they lost their job, you know?,” Tauziet told Radio New Zealand.

“So we have a group of eight players coming from France. They play in the Fédérale 1 and Fédérale 2 (third and fourth tier).”

Tangata is expected to finalise his squad this Wednesday before naming his starting line-up.

He is hoping to improve on the weak links from the hit out match and put together the best line-up for Friday’s clash which will also serve as the Rugby World Cup qualifier match.

“The plan was to give everyone a run (in the hit out match) but in saying that, the consistency sort of drops a little bit but then we had boys who stood up to the challenge to be counted,” Tangata said.

“The discipline around the contact area is another concern. We really need to be able to adapt to the international type of refereeing.

“If we are not able to adapt to it, it’s going to cost us. I guess we just have to go with the referee’s decisions and then learn from it at the same time so that we can get that consistency.

“But we still have five days to work on those areas. We are pretty confident we will get there.”

The Cook Islands versus Tahiti match will kick off at 3pm.

            - Rashneel Kumar

Cook Islands XVs

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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