Rima Browne, left, Brian Akava and Nicol Tiaore are the Rarotonga-based players who will feature for the Cook Islands in this weekend’s Oceania 7s tournament. The three are pictured at Rarotonga International Airport before leaving for Auckland on Sunday. SUPPLIED/22111412
Three Rarotonga-based players will join the Cook Islands 7s men’s and women’s teams for this weekend’s 2022 Oceania Rugby Sevens Challenge in Brisbane, Australia.
Browne, Nicol Tiaore and Brian Akava left Rarotonga on Sunday for the two-day
tournament starting on Friday (Cook Islands time).
will be joined by the rest of the squad made up of players from Auckland and
Cook Islands Rugby New Zealand Inc. has been tasked to field the national men’s
and women’s teams, on behalf of the Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU), at this
year’s regional tournament.
president Simiona Teiotu earlier said due to the national body’s “financial
states”, the CIRU NZ will attend the regional tournament.
Yesterday, Teiotu confirmed the Oceania Rugby is helping fund the three Rarotonga-based players airfares from Auckland to Brisbane and return as well as ground logistics costs.
He said former All Black Michael Jones and Matson Shipping have come onboard to support the players with “other costs like medical insurance etc .”
Westrupp of Tupapa Maraerenga Rugby Club – Browne’s domestic club – said: “Rima
Browne will be attending thanks to the community’s financial support namely
Ina, Ron, Vaine and Bank of the Cook Islands, Malcolm, Jessie and Cook Islands
General Transport and some other anonymous sponsors.” Moana Minerals have also
helped sponsor Browne’s trip.
Westrupp also thanked Andrew Iroa and Evolution Sports for helping Browne with her training .
(Browne) was one of the unsuccessful trialists for the women’s Rugby League
World Cup campaign but she is ecstatic to be able to use all the hard training
she has been doing for this 7s campaign.
has represented the country in the game of touch rugby at the last Pacific
Games and has played a number of domestic games both in union and league and
hails from the Tupapa Panthers Club.
is looking forward to gaining further experience and in return looks forward to
coming back home to share this with other future Cook Islands women (players).”
who played for the victorious Arorangi Bears at the Raro 7s, was also named the
most valuable player in the women’s competition.
national men’s team will be coached by Koiatu Koiatu of Brisbane and managed by
Auckland’s Opura Samuel. Maia Samuela of Auckland will manage the Cook Islands
women’s team which will be coached by Tau Korea Moeke also of Auckland.
top two men’s and the top placed women’s teams at the 2022 Oceania Rugby Sevens
Challenge will qualify to the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. The
winner of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series will achieve core
status on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2024.
men’s event will feature Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon
Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Australia A. Tonga and Papua New Guinea will be
hoping to return to the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series after both
participated this year. Kiribati will be the unknown factor in their maiden
outing at an international event.
women’s side of the tournament will see the Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon
Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu all trying to prevent Papua New Guinea returning to
the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for a second year. The event is the
first outing for all teams beside Papua New Guinea since the 2019 Oceania Rugby
total of 42 matches (24 Men’s and 18 women’s matches) will be played across two
days of competition.
– Repoama Morris-Ponga (Auckland), Junior Kiria (Auckland), Junior Taia
(Auckland), Habasaloma Tamarua (Auckland), Kaiya Mareva Tumaki (Auckland),
Heimona Potoru (Auckland), King Paulo (Auckland), Kobe Tararo (Brisbane), Yvahn
Allsworth (Brisbane), Brian Akava (Rarotonga), William Ravatudeis (Perth),
Zacharius Patai (Auckland), Adam Lewis John Vardey, Simon John Kopu. Manager –
Opura Samuel (Auckland), Coach – Koiatu Koiatu (Brisbane), Physio – Roimata
Herman (Auckland), Assistant Manager –Terepai Samuel (Brisbane), Assistant Coach
– Adam Vardey (Auckland).