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Cook Islands men’s 7s team sets sights on medal at Pacific Games

Saturday 18 November 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Pacific Games 2023, Rugby Union, Sports


Cook Islands men’s 7s team sets sights on medal at Pacific Games
Cook Islands 7s teams before leaving Brisbane for Honiara on Thursday. CIRU/23111614

The Cook Islands men’s 7s team is aiming to return home with a medal from the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The team is determined to make their mark on the international stage, showcasing the talent of local players, will face Nauru in their opening match.

Coached by Andrew Iro, the team arrived in Honiara on Thursday after competing in the Oceania 7s tournament in Brisbane.

Iroa said seven Rarotonga-based players made up the Oceania team, led by Stephen Willis, and five were from New Zealand.

“Our team to the Solomon Islands is entirely composed of local players. We want to develop our local talent, and this is an opportunity for them to compete at an international level,” said Iroa.

The team has been training since June, with fundraising efforts on the side. Their goal is clear: to secure a medal at the Pacific Games.

“We are definitely here to get a medal,” Iroa stated confidently.

With Tonga and Nauru in the same pool, Iroa is optimistic about their chances of reaching the medal playoffs.

“We have a good chance of making it to the medal playoffs, the quarter-finals,” he explained.

Iroa acknowledged that their biggest competition would be Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa – the powerhouses of Pacific 7s.

“The biggest challenge here will be getting our local players to perform at an international level,” Iroa noted.

From the beginning of their training, the team has focused on the belief of coming from a nation of 18,000 people, drawing inspiration from the biblical story of David and Goliath.

“Our parents and the pastors we met here have consistently reminded us of the biblical phrase of David and Goliath, emphasising the importance of putting God first in everything we do. And with the hard work you’ve put in back home, you just have to believe,” Iroa emphasised.

The team has been away from home since the Oceania 7s and will return on November 28 after the Pacific Games.

“I know our families, girlfriends, and boyfriends are definitely thinking of us and praying for us. I would like to express our gratitude and blessings to them as well,” Iroa conveyed.

“Everyone is in high spirits. We are looking forward to this tournament as it’s a four-year event.” The three-day rugby 7s competition begins on Thursday, November 23 (Solomon Islands time).