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Friday 2 June 2023 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Matapo joins IRL advisory group
Cook Islands Rugby League official and former rep Peggy Matapo. 23060201

Cook Islands Rugby League official and former representative player Peggy Matapo has been appointed to the International Rugby League Women and Girls Advisory Group.

Matapo is a respected member of the Cook Islands Rugby League executives, and also serves as a constable in the Cook Islands Police Force.

As a player, Matapo has represented Cook Islands on the international stage and was a member of the 2019 Pacific Games team who won a bronze medal in Samoa.

She was a member of the management for the Cook Islands Vaine Moana team at last November’s World Cup in England.

At home, Matapo is responsible for coordinating the local women’s competition.

Matapo says she is “beyond honoured” to be a part of IRL Women and Girls Advisory Group and is looking forward to working with them.

“A few months back, I received an email being nominated for this role. Although a bit uneasy at the thought of an international role so I prayed about it and took it on. I have a very supportive League Association, Women’s Committee, family and workforce that I know will continue to support me in this role,” Matapo told Cook Islands News.

“I hope to leave a legacy or create a pathway for women’s rugby league not only for our country but Asia Pacific. In terms of women’s development for the country, we have a few things lined up in the near future and we’re excited about that.

“With that being said, I thank God for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with. This role isn’t just for or about me, it’s about all us women here in our country and Pasifika. Our women’s committee (Patty Taea, Akaiti Purea, Maruia Willie) as well as our new committee (Julz Westrupp, Hinnah Tatuava, Sunielia Tom and Tina Iro) have been working tirelessly to create pathways for women’s rugby league. Everyone who has supported women’s rugby league here at home and have given me this opportunity, this one is for us.”

Cook Islands Rugby League chairman Charles Carlson said Matapo was passionate about developing women’s rugby league in the Cook Islands and the Pacific region.

“Peggy aims to create more opportunities and pathways for local women and girls to participate in this excellent game of rugby league,” he said.

Carlson, who was on the International Rugby League board for two terms as a representative of Asia Pacific Rugby League (APRL), added: “Let’s make our voices heard at the international board level. It’s crucial that we have a say in decision-making to prevent being left behind and ensure we’re part of the conversation in shaping our future.”

Matapo was nominated for the IRL Women and Girls Advisory Group by the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation. She replaces Tahina Booth (PNG).

APRL chief operating officer Jeremy Edwards said: “We are looking forward to working with Peggy during the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands in November 2023.”

Cook Islands has been at the forefront of the growth of women’s rugby league in the Pacific, with the nation having competed at the 2003 and 2017 World Cups, as well as last year’s tournament in England.

Cook Islands Vaine Moana beat France at last year’s World Cup and England at the 2017 tournament.

  • RK/IRL