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Sevens make top six target

Wednesday November 08, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Cook Islands Sevens men’s side is eyeing a top six finish at the Oceania Sevens Championship this weekend.

 

The two-day tournament, which starts tomorrow (CI time) at Suva’s ANZ Stadium in Fiji, will see teams competing for spots at next year’s top international events.

Lately, the national side has not been able to qualify to any of those events and hopes are high, the Vase Samania-coached team will break that hoodoo this year.

Cook Islands Sevens skipper Stephen Willis in an interview with Oceania Rugby said they were hoping for their best finish in the championship this year.

“We’re hoping for good results at this tournament to get back to international events such as the Hong Kong Sevens. For that, we are hoping for a top six finish,” Willis said.

“The boys will be stoked to get through to that stage but at the moment, we are just thinking about game by game. We will just take one game at a time and play to the best of our ability to achieve our goals.”

Cook Islands is placed in Pool B with powerhouse New Zealand and Nauru.

In its opening pool match, the side will take on Nauru at 2.20pm before playing the All Blacks Sevens at 8.20pm tomorrow.

Willis said they were anticipating some tough matches in the pool competition.

He said competing at the Raro Rugby Sevens over the weekend was a good start to the team’s campaign for this week’s championship.

It would give local and New Zealand-based players an opportunity to bond and work on their combinations, he added.

“The local and New Zealand boys are trying to gel well and hopefully things will fall into place in this tournament.”

Meanwhile, the national women’s team which stands a good chance of making it through to next year’s World Rugby Sevens World Cup, is placed in Pool A with New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tahiti.

The team will play PNG in the opening match of the tournament at 12 noon before taking on New Zealand at 3.20pm and Tahiti at 6pm tomorrow.

Cook Islands men’s – Mata Matapakia, Raymond Mitchell, Rangi Piri, Teu Paerau, Sirla Pera, Stephen Willis (C), Reece Joyce, Junior Napara, William Raea, Tutu Tairea, James Johnston, Longo Leuta, Reserve – Junior Kiria