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Fiji Residents, Cook Islands gear up for Tri Series opener

Wednesday 24 May 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in League, Sports


Fiji Residents, Cook Islands gear up for Tri Series opener
Some members of the Fiji Residents team during their training at Victoria Park in Tupapa yesterday. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 23052340

The Fiji Residents rugby league team will be showcasing a number of young players at the inaugural Tri Nations Series that kicks off on Saturday, June 3.

Fiji Residents spokesperson Pita Senibiakula said they have about 20 players who have been turning up for training at Tupapa’s Victoria Park.

Senibiakula said they are expecting more players to turn up this week as most were still nursing their injuries from the Cook Islands Rugby League 13s competition which ended on May 13.

“There have been a lot of talent in the Fiji team over the years and even with some senior players leaving we are looking forward to showcasing our young ones,” Senibiakula said.

Fiji Residents will face Cook Islands in the first game and Senibiakula said “they will reveal everything on the day of the match”.

The Tri Nations Series is to help the Cook Islands team prepare for the Pacific Games Nines competition to be held in Solomon Islands in November.

Senibiakula said while they were happy to help the national team with its preparation for the Pacific Games, they would be giving Cook Islands and Samoa/Tonga Resident teams a good run for their money.

He is calling on Fijians residing here to support the local tournament and come out in numbers.

Meanwhile, Clive Nicholas, the coach of the Cook Islands Nines men’s team to the Pacific Games, said their preparation for the series started this week.

Nicholas released the Cook Islands squad for the Tri Series last week and held their first training run at the Avatiu field.

He said they still have some players tied up with work and other commitments but have confirmed their attendance for tomorrow’s session.

“The vibe is positive in the meantime; we just have to respect work and family commitments for the players – they are their first and foremost because of their sacrifice to their respective clubs since January’s 9s.”

Nicholas said a Facebook group page has been set up and feedback from the players have been positive.

“Today (yesterday) I have a full team at training and heading to next week it will be a headache trying to pick the line up,” he added.

The inaugural rugby league series will be held over three weeks and feature Conan Cup women’s matches between Town and Country as curtain raisers.

The Tri Nations Series is to help the national body select players for the Pacific Games in Solomon Islands in November this year. Cook Islands will field men and women teams in the Games’ Nines competition.

Cook Islands Rugby League is planning to hold the first match on Saturday, June 3, between Cook Islands and Fiji followed by Fiji versus Samoa/Tonga clash on June 10 and Samoa/Tonga versus Cook Islands match on June 17.

The venues will be confirmed later.