Out to make it Wright

Thursday June 07, 2018 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Cook Islands rugby coach Stanley Wright has some unfinished business with the national side.

Wright was originally appointed Cook Islands head coach in April 2016 but was sacked 10 months later after falling out with the Cook Islands Rugby Union.

Now living in New Zealand and coaching his son’s team at Wairarapa College, the 39 year old said he didn’t say yes straight away and thought long and hard before agreeing to a second stint in charge.

“Just unfinished business,” explains Wright. “I didn’t get to start what I wanted to do, so I thought I’ve got a good chance of making a difference to Cook Islands Rugby and that’s what made me say yes to come back.

“I’m a proud Cook Islander – I was born and raised there – and any chance I get to give back to the boys from the islands or the Cook Islands, if I can help out in any way rugby terms I will,” he enthuses.

“Because I’ve been fortunate enough to have a very long professional career, (I’m happy) giving back to the game and helping out where I can. But for me to coach the Cook Islands now – it’s a proud moment.”

The former Leinster front-rower was not involved in the Cook Islands 13-9 Oceania Cup defeat by Tahiti in August, which initially ended their World Cup-qualifying campaign at the first hurdle.

That result was subsequently overturned, after Tahiti were found to have fielded two ineligible players, and Wright admitted they were very fortunate to have been given another shot.

“From my point of view, personally, we’re very lucky to be getting this chance,” he said.

“Whether we earned it or not, that’s not for me to say, but I can say we’re very lucky to have this opportunity and from the boys I’ve spoken to everyone is excited on the team.

“Bar the local boys from the islands, it’s a whole different crew coming from New Zealand and Aussie and Europe.

“I’ve been fortunate a lot of guys have made themselves available, whereas for the test against Tahiti there weren’t much guys available to be selected, so I’ve been fortunate in that respect.”

            - Radio New Zealand

Overseas-based Cook Islands players: Alex Casey (Brisbane), AJ Campbell (Brisbane), Alex Matapo (Auckland), James Pakoti (Wellington), Sam Anderson Heather (Otago), Matt Mullany (Wellington), Oneal Rongo (Northland), Shahn Eru (France), Tai Marsters (Counties), Tyrone Viiga (France), Eruu Wano (Bay of Plenty), Tai Ford (Brisbane), Teara Henderson (Wellington), Corry Tearoa (Perth), Walter Koteka (Perth), Will Raea (Counties), Reece Joyce (Counties), Josh Gordon (Otago), Gene Te Amo (Counties), Josh Tinomana (Perth), Brynn Uriarau (Hawkes Bay), Oisin Clarken (Melbourne), Justin Marsters (Sydney), Greg Mullany (Wellington).

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