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Raro players join national team

Friday 16 July 2021 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Raro players join national team
Cook Islands men’s rugby coach Nathan Robinson. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Vinnie Wylie/21070722

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 July 7.

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 applying pressure.”

Robinson said they have to work on all aspects of the game.

“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.

Cook Islands – 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.