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CI Residents eye Series title

Saturday 23 September 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Rugby league, Sports


CI Residents eye Series title
Tokouso (Samoa/Tonga) and Tabusoro grapple for possession l in last week’s Tri Nations match. MELINA ETCHES/23091707

Cook Islands Residents will be hoping to beat defending champions Tabusoro Fiji Residents by more than 12 points to claim their first ever Vodafone-Tri Nations 15s Series.

The exciting match will kick off at 4pm at Aretere Park in Avatiu today.

In the opening match of the series, Tokouso (Samoa/Tonga) and the Cook Islands Residents team battled to a 11-all draw.

In the second match, Tokouso defeated Tabusoro Fiji by 22-10. Tabusoro stands no chance of retaining the title after last week’s loss.  

Ben Koteka, Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) development manager, said based on the round-robin format, a new champion will be crowned this afternoon, and it will be either Tokouso or the Cook Islands Residents. 

With Tokouso having played both their matches, they currently lead with a win and a draw.

“The Cook Islands Residents are in with a chance to win the Vodafone Tri Nations trophy for the very first time ever,” said Koteka.

“However, they will need to win this Saturday’s match against Tabusoro with a 13 points differential/margin or more, which will then elevate them to first placing on the final points table.

“Unfortunately, after losing their match last week to Tokouso, Tabusoro will not be in a position to retain the trophy.”

Koteka said Tabusoro will be playing for pride.

“I am sure that they do not want to finish this year without a win under their belt.

“We are looking forward to another tough and bruising encounter when the 2022 Tri Nations 15s champions Tabusoro take on the Cook Islands,.”

Tabusoro will be banking on their super dangerous backline of halves Savenaca “Juju” Buresova and Nathan Nabou, and strong-running counter-attacking fullback Tevita Niusama. 

The Cook Islands Residents will be led by their hardworking forward pack of front rowers Toru Katuke and Davey Mato, and action-man number 8 Teariki Nicholas.

This match will kick-off at 4pm. Be there to catch the fast and furious action as well as see who will be crowned this year’s 2023 Vodafone Tri Nations 15s champions. Entry fee is $3 for adults and free for children under 16.

Cook Islands Residents: Toru Katuke/Daniel Tonorio, Nelson Ngaiore, Davey Mato, Kana Nga, Oki Naea, Apolo Johnson, Papa Li Ponini, Timothy Tangirere, Teariki Nicholas, Jason Potoru, Daniel Toa, Ioane Moore, Thomas Daniel, Tama Nicholas, Ryan Daniel, Nicholas Maui, Andrew Spoon, Junior Kirikava, Avaiki Ama, Stephen Willis, Mark Tuaati, Taio Taio.