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Fijians like look of Cook Islands-PNG team

Thursday 25 August 2011 | Published in Regional

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A Fijian company is floating ideas to possibly see the Cook Islands combine with other Pacific island nations for a regional rugby union competition.

The Fiji Times reported earlier this week that the company behind an inaugural two-match rugby series between Fiji and Tonga is looking to expand the series to include more nations in the Pacific.

Nitin Punja, managing director of Punja and Sons Limited, the company bankrolling the series, said they have requested that Fiji and Tonga rugby unions consider expanding to include more teams from the region.

He said the Cook Islands could be a suitable nation if we were to join with other countries in a combined team.

Punjas is committed to promoting rugby and other sports that ensure a win-win situation for the mutual benefit of all the countries in the Pacific region, Nitin said.

We have requested Fiji and Tongan Rugby Unions to also invite other teams in the Pacific to participate in this event.

The Cook Islands could combine with Papua New Guinea and the other smaller Pacific nations. We could get Samoa also on board. The sponsorship is there.

Tonga coach Isitolo Maka said the island nations needed to play more Test matches.

The former All Black also applauded Punjas commitment to expand the series.

I hope this series continues in the future and I want to thank the sponsor for hosting the event, Maka said.

I hope Samoa will join in also. The sponsors want make it bigger. There could be a combined team with Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands and the other nations.

That would be a good concept. The more games we have the better it will be for us.