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Busy year for local rugby

Wednesday 18 January 2012 | Published in Regional


A full-on year of rugby union tournaments and development programmes is on the cards for 2012.

The first exciting event of the season will be the Cook Islands national sevens teams participation at the IRB Wellington Sevens Tournament on February 3 and 4.

National sevens coach Ramsey Tomokino has been monitoring potential national sevens squad members in New Zealand, Australia and Rarotonga and has selected his side to represent the country at the annual sevens festival in Wellington.

New Zealand-based players in the national sevens squad are expected to play in the Pakuranga sevens tournament in Auckland as part of a build-up to the Wellington tournament under the banner of their individual clubs.

The Cook Islands national squad will have their first hit out as one unit on January 28 when they attend the Tailevu sevens tournament in Auckland as part of their final preparations for Wellington.

In March, rippa rugby is set to kick off the domestic season with dates for the popular non-contact tournament for both boys and girls yet to be confirmed.

Rugby development programmes will also be rolled out in March for school children on Rarotonga and across the outer islands.

More rippa rugby tournaments will be staged in April when train the trainer workshops begin on Rarotonga.

In May the Cook Islands Rugby Union will host the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) annual general meeting at the Edgewater Resort & Spa in Arorangi.

The national sevens team will also regroup in May to attend the Oceania sevens qualifier tournament, which will determine the Oceania nations to play in the 2013 IRB Rugby Sevens Circuit.

Before the main domestic rugby union season kicks off on Saturday, June 16 for under 13, under 16, under 19, Senior B and Senior A grades two weeks of pre-season sevens will start on June 2 in the under 13, under 16 and senior mens division prior to the main season.

The main season will run right up to the grand finals scheduled for September 22.

In July, Rarotonga school children will take to the field again for the annual primary schools rippa rugby and netball tournament.

On July 20, Eltham Schools from the UK will tour Rarotonga and take on the best under 17 players on the island.

Rugby is one of a number of sports that outer island and vaka teams will contest during the Cook Islands Games in August.

Also in August the under 15 college sevens tournament will be staged with six teams from Tereora College, Nukutere College, Titikaveka College, Aitutaki and Atiu expected to take part.

September will be a full-on month of club rugby finals and in October the Rarotonga club rugby sevens tournament will be run building up to the Cook Islands International Sevens tournament to be held on November 1, 2 and 3.

In December, preparations for the Wellington Sevens circuit in 2013 will start again to end a busy year of rugby in the Cooks.