Kayal Iro, son of former Kiwi Kevin Iro, is one of the upcoming players expected to represent the Cook Islands at the Rugby League World Cup. 21051216
Cook Islands Rugby League (CIRL) is hoping to secure at least an international test match as a warm up game to the Rugby League World Cup to be held in England later in the year.
NRL and International Rugby League are yet to release any details for the
Pacific Tests in June, which would have served a perfect build-up for teams
from the region heading to the World Cup.
Carlson, the CIRL president, said ideally it would be great to have the Pacific
Test as planned for June “but we can also understand the impact of this
Covid-19 on the game and across all sectors”.
are hoping it will go ahead, but I think the chances are slim, also due to the
uncertainty within the borders.
should have been confirmed by now because all teams need to prepare as there’s
a lot of logistics involved in planning an international test match,” Carlson
other major challenge is the release of top players from their NRL clubs to
participate in the Pacific Test, he said.
has to be the best of the best squad we can assemble, as there is too much to
lose or gain in these international test matches. We got left out in the
wilderness for a couple of years and this is the reality we are faced with.
worked very hard to get the Cook Islands back on the world stage and the goal
is to stay there. We owe this to players, coaches, supporters and our Cook
Islands government for making that happen,” Carlson said.
AAP, none of the Pacific nations have played a Test since the end of 2019, when
Tonga shocked Australia and highlighted the rise of the international game.
Covid-19 is now no longer a real logistical issue in playing the games, given
the squads of Tonga and Samoa are made up almost solely of NRL players, it
New Guinea and Fiji also have feeder teams in Australia to go with their NRL
stars, with the only real challenge coming in the form of flying coaches over.”
mid-year Pacific Tests are traditionally sanctioned by the IRL but are
organised and run by the NRL.
league initially took a financial hit on the games but in recent years have
moved closer to breaking even. That has coincided with the rise of the Pacific
game, with almost 50 per cent of players in the NRL now having Polynesian
the Pacific Tests are cancelled, Carlson said they would definitely look to an
international test match as a warm up game to the World Cup.
good thing is, every nation is affected and no nation has any advantage over
another nation, so I guess in that sense that evens out the playing field.
this stage the World Cup is going ahead as planned, especially with the Olympic
Games happening and including other major events happening in that part of the
world months before the WC,” Carlson said.
months out from the biggest Rugby League World Cup in history, organisers are
forging ahead with the event, while other codes have got cold feet.
Rugby League World Cup for men, women and wheelchair athletes will draw teams
from 21 nations, including several which are still struggling with Covid-19.
teams from countries within the United Kingdom, Europe, North, South and
Central America, the Pacific Islands - including Cook Islands men's and women's
teams - and the Caribbean have qualified.
tournament in England runs between October 23 and November 27 and for the first
time all three competitions will run concurrently.
said: “We are ready to take any opportunities that come our way, so just
waiting patiently for the confirmation.”