The Westrupp family at the Boxing Day touch competition last year. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 231226 16 -23122624
Fourteen teams will be competing in the Annual Touch Rugby Season that kicks off on Monday, January 29.
The Cook Islands Touch Association’s 2024 season
kicks off next week with the men’s and women’s open grade competition on
Monday, followed by the mixed open grade on Wednesday.
There are four men’s and four women’s teams
registered this year, along with six mixed teams for the weekly competitions.
Mitiaro women’s team, Nukz Power, is led by Rima
Browne, who aims to defend the trophy this season. Team GAT will be led by Puna
Hiro, who will also be defending their trophy, while 007 will be out to defend
the mixed grade.
All teams are expected to put on a strong
performance with players who returned from the 2023 Pacific Games that was held
in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in November–December. They are expected to eagerly
show off their skills from all the hard training they had last year.
president Julieanne (Julz) Westrupp says players to watch out for in
the women’s grade are sisters Tutemaeva and Mele Poaru for Team Nikz.
said these young ladies, who bring experience to the team, will definitely be a
Bounty will feature Pare Noovao, Monica Wichman and Tehina Tommy, as they will
also strive to get their team in the finals this season.
FBI will be led by Hinnah Tatuava, fresh off her return from the Pacific Games.
No doubt, pressure will be on her shoulders, but with her strong leadership,
she has the potential to guide her team to a successful season.
champions Nukz Power have a few players that went to the Pacific Games
including captain Browne along with Tashi Kopu, Missy McQuarie and veteran
Westrupp herself. The team will also feature Mahana Sijp who will be
representing Cook Islands at this year’s Touch World Cup to be held in
said Nukz Power will use this season to help prepare Sijp for the international
the men’s grade, defending champions Team GAT will have the likes of Puna Hiro,
Oscar Wichman and Toru Mateariki.
said: “These men play a fast and agile game in the middle and they will be good
to watch this season.”
Power will be led by Vernon Horn and supported by John Noovao and Tuffy
team continues to develop young players which will help towards Cook Islands Games.”
said Team KAPS doesn’t have any Pacific Games reps. However, the experienced
Viiga Mataroa guides his young players well and will continue to do so this
Warriors will be led by Vou Williams and assisted by Sam Tatuava and Tamaiva
Mateariki. Williams will also be representing the Cook Islands at the Touch
World Cup along with Sijp.
said the experienced players have gone out of their way to help grow the
the mixed grade, KAPS will again be led by Viiga Mataroa, Nukz Power led by
Vernon Horn, Outlaws spearheaded by Puna Hiro, and defending champions team 007
will be led by father and son, Andy and Adyn Kapi.
too develops players and has done this for years,” Westrupp said.
CISNOC is walking the talk and joining the competition this year, said Westrupp,
adding it will be exciting to see their staff on the field.
JAWs, led by veteran Teokotai “Billy Bush” Tuaivi, is also joining the
says the teams are well-matched with a good mix of experience, skill, and
flair. The mixed grade promises to be particularly exciting.
open grade will play three round robin games, followed by playoffs with 1st vs.
4th and 2nd vs. 3rd. The mixed grade will play two rounds before playoffs with
the same format.
hopes this season helps prepare players for the upcoming Cook Islands Games.
games will be held at the National Stadium starting at 5pm on Mondays and
said Mondays at 6pm is a free slot which they hope to use for those interested
in playing in the Masters grade (45+) at the Cook Islands Games. She encourages
everyone to take advantage of this.
acknowledged sponsor Vodafone Cook Islands for their continuous support.