After a mixed performance this season, the national rugby union governing body is hoping to maintain the momentum they have set so far to go up a notch.
And at the heart of their strategy is the development of the game in this country.
CIRU chief executive officer Ben Koteka said the development programme proposed by CIRU for 2018 will focus on age-grade players starting with games of 10s for the younger players.
This, he said, would serve as the build up to 15s rugby for the older age-grades, provided there are enough players to make up the teams.
“Already three New Zealand and Australian age-grade teams are confirmed to tour Rarotonga in 2018,” Koteka said.
“A junior rugby committee will be formed at the beginning of 2018 to focus on encouraging participation of our young players.
“The CIRU will provide a budget for the committee to incentivise their participation and at the same time, support the holistic healthy sports lifestyle programme of New Zealand government’s Pacific Sporting Partnership.”
The organisation is also proposing to run an international competition on Rarotonga for the U16s to plug a gap between the two key overseas international age-grade competitions.
Cook Islands this year took part in the international U15 and U18 Sevens tournaments.
“Our recent successes at the Condor U15s over the past two years have identified a need to add some depth to the talent base of our young Cook Islands players by encouraging them to continue to participate in our club 15s competition,” Koteka said.
“Currently our focus in this competition is the seniors, U19s and U16s who provide a pool of players for selection alongside Cook Islands players from overseas, to form a national playing squad.”
Koteka said next year players would be expected to register at the start of the season so that they can have an up-to-date database.
“We also aim to continue to add depth to our match officials, by increasing their numbers and upskilling the coaches and match officials for both the Sevens and 15s games.”
At the top level, CIRU aims to strengthen its governance by rebranding the union under a new logo and new-look uniforms.
It also hopes to reinforce their relationships with Cook Islands Rugby Unions in New Zealand and Australia.
“Reflecting on a verse from 1st Corinthians 11:14: ‘one body with many important parts’, our successes are built around the participation and support that is given by the many stakeholder groups whose efforts are coordinated so that the Cook Islands Rugby Union can achieve its goals for the sport of rugby in the Cook Islands,” Koteka said.
“The Cook Islands Rugby Union seeks your continued support to help us to achieve our goals to build the reputation of the code of rugby within a nation that values involvement in an active and healthy sport.
“Also to provide a development pathway and competition programme that will continue to build the skills and talents of our players so that they can take advantage of the many opportunities for them to represent their country at the highest levels of participation for their code, internationally.”