In an appreciation note to the sponsors and supporters, CIRU chief executive officer Ben Koteka said 2017 had proved a “successful development year” for them.
Without the support of stakeholders, they would not have been able to achieve the successes on which they plan to build a more positive set of outcomes for 2018, he added.
One of the successes for the union was the return of the Ngatangiia Dragons to give them a full complement of village clubs in the 2017 club competition, Koteka said.
“National depopulation statistics impacted on the Tupapa Panthers, so that despite only being able to field one team - their seniors, they were still able to end the season with an exciting grand final against the eventual winners, Avatiu Eels.”
He said the outcome of the national team’s outing against Tahiti was not as expected, but there were lessons learned from the experience.
Cook Islands lost to Tahiti 9-13 in the qualifiers held on Rarotonga in August.
Koteka said the lessons learned from the loss would have a positive effect on how the local coaches and managers approached the preparation of their players for other international competitions.
“Some positive results were the senior men’s Sevens team qualifying for Hong Kong in 2018, the Cook Islands U15s Sevens finishing 11th out of 32 teams at the recent premier New Zealand college Condor event, and although the Women’s Sevens team didn’t qualify for any 2018 World Sevens Series tournaments, they participated creditably against other international teams during the year.”