Under the guidance of head coach Mark Brown, touch players have been in training since late last year with sessions becoming more frequent and intense over recent months.
With the women’s squad being named this week, training sessions are set to become tougher as Brown hones his athletes into gold medal winning warriors.
Fitness and skills have been the focus of touch rugby training with a healthy dose of positive motivation from coach Brown who encouraged his talented touch rugby athletes to think like ‘soldiers in arms’.
“Speak with encouragement and confidence, act with a positive attitude, think like a winner,” are words Brown is often heard drilling into his team.
The squad also live the motto of ‘one team, one dream’ as they eat, sleep and live touch rugby all with the one common goal of taking to the Pacific Games podium for the gold medal.
The pressure is now on for the team to perform for each other and the rest of the nation.
The national women’s touch rugby squad boasts both experienced seasoned touch rugby campaigners including the ever-fit Julz Westrupp, long-time touch stalwarts Taromi Urirau, Edith Nicholas and Rangi Apera and exciting youth players including the speedy Teiti Tupuna and the consistently hardworking Jan Dawn Taia.
The full women’s national touch rugby squad members are Julz Westrupp, Sunielia Tom, Teiti Tupuna, Rima Moekaa, Taromi Urirau, Jan Dawn Taia, Apii Vavia, Rangi Apera, Pare Noovao, Alex Marsters, Edith Nicholas, Mary Adams (Auckland), Dayna Napa (Christchurch), Ngapoko Kamana (Gold Coast) and Eliana Rima.
The management team includes coach Mark Brown, Daphne Brown, Tangata Samania and Lora Tauira.
The Cook Islands will compete in the open women, open men and mixed division of the Pacific Games touch competition.
The men’s touch rugby team will be announced shortly and a combination of the men’s and women’s team will make up the mixed touch team.
Papua New Guinea is set to host the Pacific Games from July 4 to 18, with the touch rugby competition to be held at the Bisini grounds.
Team Cook Islands is expected to be made up of about 180 athletes from 13 sports codes including athletics, body building, cricket, golf, lawn ball, beach volleyball, netball, league nines, sailing, football, touch rugby, oe vaka and weightlifting.