Two Rarotonga-based players have joined the Cook Islands 15s side for their second warm up match this afternoon.
Josh Caffery and Tevita Niusama will bolster the
national team’s campaign in their second hit out session against New Zealand
Under-20 at Dilworth College ground in Auckland at 2pm (local time).
The Nathan Robinson-coached side went down to New
Zealand provincial champions Tasman Mako 31-24 in their first warm up match on
Today’s match will give Robinson an opportunity to
iron out areas of concern before the crucial Rugby World Cup qualifying match
on July 24.
Cook Islands will play whoever loses the World Cup
qualification playoff between Samoa and Tonga.
The winner of the Cook Islands match will then advance
to the Asia/Pacific Playoff for a place in the 2023 World Cup in France.
After their loss to Mako, coach Robinson told Cook
Islands News: “The highlights were the camaraderie we built in such a short
space of time, we came in from multiple clubs, we had white board sessions and
the boys knew the rules.”
“We didn’t win but we got a lot out of it. It was good
to see the physicality of our pod systems. It took ten to 15 minutes to get
into the game, but once we got into it, we found our rhythm and started
Robinson said they have to work on all aspects of the
“We only had two training sessions prior to the (Mako)
game. We have the New Zealand national under-20 game coming up before the test.
We now have more time of getting to know each other,” he said a week ago.
– James Pakoti, Tuakana Paitai, Antonio Ripata, Toru Katuke, Davey Mato, Alex
Matapo, Oneal Rongo, Adyn Kapi, James Kora, Eric Newbigging, Francis Smith,
Josh Caffery, Robert Heather, Leroy Henry-Jack, Toka Sopoaga, Dayton Iobu, Te
Puhi Rudolph, David Paulo, Junior Taia, Leon Ellia-Niukore, Matamanea
Matapakia, Thomas Potoru, TevIta Niusama, Mataroa Maui.