Cook Islands rugby league co-captain Brad Takairangi (seated left, middle row) with captains of other teams. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com /RLWC/22101105
Cook Islands rugby league side is settling in well at their base in Hurworth ahead of their opening Rugby League World Cup match against Wales on Wednesday, October 19.
The national side
arrived in UK over the weekend after a long travel from Sydney via Singapore to
Heathrow before taking a four-hour bus ride to Hurworth.
The Kukis had
their first training session on Monday under the guidance of coach Tony Iro who
has named Super League players Brad Takairangi and Esan Marsters as co-captains
of the team.
Cook Islands Rugby
League president Charles Carlson said both Takairangi and Marsters were
“delighted” with the opportunity to co-lead the team.
“It’s a good opportunity
for them and Brad has been playing for the Cook Islands for quite some years,
probably one of the longest serving player in the team and Esan co-captained
the team at the Pacific Test held couple of months ago. So we got two good leaders
that will lead the team’s campaign in the next couple of weeks.”
Carlson said coach
Iro has been focusing on getting the players gelled together before the opening
match in a week’s time.
“It’s a good mix
of experienced players and young guns that are coming through and Tony is
comfortable that we have good squad and capable of toppling any of the team
that we’re going to play against,” Carlson said.
“It’s working on
basics and getting the players to gel together. Tony said what’s important is
that everybody understand the game plan and play as a tight unit. But he also
wants the natural talent within the boys to shine rather than playing too structured
play … while he is there to provide game plan and structure but he also wants
players to take the opportunities when they come by.
“Everyone is in
good spirits just preparing for the first game against Wales, we will make sure
everyone is in top shape to play their first test match.”
The 2021 RLWC will
kick off this Saturday at 3.30am (Cook Islands time) with hosts England taking
on Samoa followed by Australia versus Fiji clash at 8.30am.
Group A: England,
France, Greece, Samoa
Australia, Fiji, Italy, Scotland
Group C: Ireland,
Jamaica, Lebanon, New Zealand
Group D: Cook
Islands, Papua New Guinea, Wales, Tonga
Cook Islands: Tevin Arona (Auckland), Tinirau Arona (Wakefield
Trinity), Geoff Daniela (St Marys Saints), Johnathon Ford (Featherstone
Rovers), Anthony Gelling (Auckland), Kayal Iro (Cronulla Sharks), Makahesi
Makatoa (Parramatta Eels), Esan Marsters (Huddersfield Giants), Steven Marsters
(Thirroul Butchers), Davvy Moale (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Tepai Moeroa
(Melbourne Storm), Dylan Napa (Catalans Dragons), Rua Ngatikaura (Wests
Tigers), Moses Noovao-McGreal (Norths Devils), Pride Pettersen-Robati (New
Zealand Warriors), Dominique Peyroux (Toulouse Olympique), Brendan Piakura
(Brisbane Broncos), Reuben Porter (Tweed Heads Seagulls), Vincent Rennie
(Newtown Jets), Reubenn Rennie (Newtown Jets), Brad Takairangi (Hull Kingston
Rovers), Aaron Teroi (CQ Capras), Zane Tetevano (Leeds Rhinos), Paul Ulberg
(London Broncos), Tony Iro (Coach)