Kapi’s rugby dream comes true

Tuesday 23 February 2021 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Rugby Union, Sports

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Kapi’s rugby dream comes true
North Otago bound Adyn Kapi with his three-year-old son Cassius Anguna. 21022227

Four local players will leave the country tomorrow to join school and senior rugby union teams in New Zealand.

When Covid-19 hit Australia early last year, promising rugby union and league player Adyn Kapi had to make some quick decisions.

With an existing underlying health issue, Kapi chose health over his promising rugby league career on the Gold Coast for the Tweed Heads Seagulls – the feeder team for the Gold Coast Titans who compete in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership.

While in Rarotonga, he spent time participating in various sporting events including the Cook Islands Games where he represented eventual winners Mauke, playing Sevens, league 9’s and boxing.

Kapi was certain that he would leave Rarotonga again at some point to pursue his rugby dreams, with options to go back to Australia or potentially playing in New Zealand.

That opportunity came from Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) who are working with North Otago Rugby Football Union to provide local players a chance to ply their trade in New Zealand.

Kapi is one of the four local players who will leave the country tomorrow to play rugby in North Otago competition.

The 20-year-old, who plays for Avatiu Eels, and Matt Maui of Arorangi Bears will join Waitaki Rugby Club while Alistair Newbigging and Olive Willie, both from Tupapa Panthers, are joining Waitaki Boys High School.

Ben Koteka, development manager of Cook Islands Rugby Union, explained their partnership with North Otago Rugby Football Union. “In 2019 and 2020 CIRU rugby scholarship student Leonard ‘Lenny’ Varu attended St Kevin’s College in North Otago. In 2021, Lenny has been accepted into the North Otago Rugby Football Union (“NORFU”) High Performance programme and he will also remain in NZ to do a building apprenticeship.”

Koteka said this year they have entered into a new and exciting agreement with North Otago Rugby Football Union that will see four players play rugby in that region.

“The two young boys will be hoping to do well in the classroom as well as improve the Waitaki Boys High School XV results,” he said.

“The Waitaki Rugby Club senior players will be hoping to push for selection into the NORFU Heartland team – a seasonal contract that will run from March to November.

“This will be an opportunity to setup a Cook Islands rugby ‘community’ in North Otago, to enhance, grow and experience overseas rugby.”

Kapi is excited with the opportunity.

“It’s a dream come true really. I had some offers in Australia but I wasn’t too keen to go back. New Zealand is perfect for me, it’s three hours flight from here and it’s just like home for me. Also, I have three other boys from here so we can give each other company and support,” Kapi, who plays blindside flanker or number eight, said.

“I don’t know much about the club I’m joining; I’m still trying to get more details but I’m excited and looking forward to it.”

Kapi, who considers former All Blacks skipper Kieran Read as his idol, wants to play in the Super Rugby competition in the near future. He eventually wants to become an All Black.

“For that to happen, the hard work starts now and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead. It’s not going to be easy but I will try my best for my family especially my three-year-old son who I will miss dearly.”

Kapi thanked Ben Koteka, Clive Nicholas, Darren Piri and his family for their support and guidance.

His message to the aspiring rugby players is “don’t get into drinking and smoking, there is a lot of opportunity out there to achieve your goals. Work hard and stay focused”.

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