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Development programme aims to prepare young women for contact sports

Wednesday 14 February 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in League, Other Sports, Rugby league, Rugby Union, Sports, Touch Rugby


Development programme aims to prepare young women for contact sports
Lady Bulldogs and Lady Panthers featured in a friendly match on Saturday at Victoria Park in Tupapa. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 24021105/ 24021106 / 24021107

A 10-week under-16 and U18 girl’s rugby development programme has been organised to help boost and prepare young women for contact sports.

Cook Islands Rugby League (CIRL) secretary Francis Toa says a 10-week rugby development programme has commenced at Raemaru Park in Arorangi, focusing on preparing young girls for contact sports.

Toa said the programme will be led by William and his wife Mene-Koteka-Heather in collaboration with Evolution Sports, aiming to teach girls aged 13 to 18 years the fundamental aspects of rugby.

The organisers extend an open invitation to all girls, offering them the opportunity to enhance their skills and boost their confidence.

Sessions convene every Friday from 5pm to 6pm on a rotational basis, guaranteeing accessibility to all girls throughout Rarotonga.

Toa said this week’s session with Maine Tu’eporo will be held at Raemaru Park and participants are advised to bring their boots or running shoes, water bottles, and invite a friend to join in the fun.

“Maine Tu’eporo represents the initiation of numerous pathway programmes designed for young girls in the Cook Islands, aspiring to pursue a career in rugby.

“This initiative aims to serve as a link between youth and adult rugby, fostering progression and development within the sport.”

The programme is also timely for players playing in the Cook Islands Rugby League 13s competition which kicked off last weekend. Lady Bulldogs and Lady Panthers played in the friendly match after the Bulldogs were unable to field a team.

Panthers’ Seta Batiratu and Julieanne (Julz) Westrupp were spotted playing for the Bulldogs.

Westrupp said the Bulldogs didn’t have enough women to make a team, so they ended up playing a fun game.

This Saturday, Lady Bulldogs will play Lady Bears, and Lady Panthers will have a bye.

Westrupp also welcomed the development programme calling it a good idea.

“It’s a good idea that will grow the sport in the long run. They will be doing a 10-week training programme and the aim is hopefully they will be ready to play a game against each other as the curtain raiser to our final for women’s league.”