Cook Islands v Tahiti in Port Moresby (WCQ Oceania; Oceania Cup)
Papua New Guinea v Solomon Islands in Port Moresby (WCQ Oceania; Oceania Cup)
Venue: Port Moresby
A daunting task awaits the winner of this tournament-Fiji. Samoa and Tonga were automatic qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup Finals following the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Fiji failed to qualify so as the No.3 Oceania team they will play the winner of this tournament for a finals place. The losing team will be eliminated as there is no repechage place for them.
“It is hot” was the first comment by players and officials of the Cook Islands rugby team on arrival in Port Moresby yesterday. Coach Barry George said the heat will be something his team have to put up with when they take on Tahiti in the first game on Saturday at the Lloyd Robson oval in Port Moresby. “The team assembled in Auckland on Sunday and we have the next three days to acclimatise to the Port Moresby weather,” George said. He said of the 26 players, seven are from Australia where they play in premier competitions and four from New Zealand who play in the Provincial Cup competition. Nineteen will be making their debuts for Cook Islands in this tournament.
Captain Stan Wright who plays in France said despite the boys not playing together, they have all fitted well. “We had our first training session together on Tuesday night in Auckland and they are all well conditioned and got on with each other well,” Wright said. He said they are looking forward to giving their best and win the Cup from PNG. Meanwhile Sports and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko urged the players at a welcome functions at the 14 mile Adventure Park to play in the true spirit of sportsmanship over the next 10 days.
“Play hard and play the Pacific way and display some rugby our people including Solomon Islanders, Cook Islanders and Tahitians living in Port Moresby can come and enjoy,” the Minister said. He added the Oceania Cup was supported by the National Government as a national event and places rugby high up with rugby league. “The facilities at PRL may not be good now but when you return for the 2015 Pacific Games, it will be of world class,” Tkatchenko said. He said the PRL was acquired by the national government last week and more than K150 million will be spent to upgrade its facilities.
PNGRFU president Richard Sapias also welcomed the teams and thanked the National government for their support and major sponsors Monier. “This is an important tournament as the winner plays Fiji in a world cup qualifier next year so play tour best and in the true spirit of sportsmanship,” Sapias said.
The Oceania Cup kicks off on Saturday at the Lloyd Robson oval when Tahiti meet Cook Islands at 1pm followed by the Monier PNG Pukpuks up against the Solomon Islands Hunters.’
Tahiti last took part in the 2007 Oceania Cup so return after a gap of 6 years! Tahiti Nui had two training games before departure for Oceania 2013 :
Tahiti Nui v RC Paita (Nex Caledonia) : 18 - 14
Tahiti Nui v Barbarians Manu Ura (Tahiti) : 38 - 3
Thanks to http://www.fira-aer-rugby.com/forum2007/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4322&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=30 and all following information has come from that site.
‘A Tahiti player named in the article Clyde Mauahiti is based with St Nazaire in Fédérale 1.’http://www.fira-aer-rugby.com/forum2007/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4322&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&sid=741fb90f1d4fe887756cdc97a90bdc64&start=30
Cook Islands Squad
Chay Raui (Ponsonby-fullback), Nathan Robinson (South Canterbury Heartland-fullback), Ioane Ioane (Hastings-wing), Junior Napara (Manukau-wing), James Iopu-Johnston (Parramatta-wing/half , James Raea (Auckland Uni-centre), Louis Makuare (Brisbane-centre), Leon Elia (South Brisbane-1st/2nd), Greg Mullany (East Brisbane-2nd), Sam Vaevae (Pakuranga-1st), Charles Teraitua (Manukau-halfback), Andrew Putairi (Papatoetoe -halfback), Francis Smith (Tasman ITM-No.8/hooker, Rima Elikana (Auckland-No. 8/lock), Kyle Cowan (Brisbane-flanker), Nick Connell (Karaka CT-flanker), Brooke Cowan (Brisbane-flanker), Iro Teariki (Manukau-lock), Viliami Raea (Hawks Newcastle-lock), Mark Ioane (Hastings-No. 8/lock), Alex Matapo (Auckland-prop), Anam Mana (Manukau-prop), Mathew Mullany (Wellington-hooker), Joseph Marsters (Rotoiti BOP- hooker), Stan Wright (Stade France-prop), Jacob Marsters (Rotoiti BOP-prop).
Cook Island team schedule and management
Trial in Auckland on June, 3rd to select 26 players for Oceania Cup (from July, 2nd to July, 13th).
Training camp in Brisbane from June, 28th to July, 1st
Head Coach : Barry George, Assistant Coach : Greg Aldous, Team Manager : Cam Kilgour
30.07.2007 Cook Islands 47-22 in Papeete (WCQ Oceania Rnd 1B)
30.08.2003 Cook Islands 56-18 in Auckland (Oceania Cup, East Zone)
02.06.2001 Cook Islands 86-0 in Rarotonga (WCQ Oceania, Group 1A)
20.02.1997 Cook Islands 40-0 in Papeete (WCQ Pacific, Round A)
These two teams also met twice in 1982, each side winning a game.
Historically the Cook Islands has been a much stronger side. I can’t see that changing when you look at the competition their players are in in Australia and New Zealand. Without knowing the composition of the Tahitian side I’d predict a handsome win by Cook Islands.
Prediction: Cook Islands by 60 points
On their home ground it is difficult to see PNG been defeated. They do have a younger squad with only a handful players selected from the 2011 side.
PNG possible line up.
Keto Neheja (loose-head prop), Kapua Kapua (hooker), Ryan Sambath (tight-head prop), William Maniot, Miai (locks), Geti Raka, Butler Morris (flankers), Gabriel Biyama (No. 8 ), Liebert Suang (half-back), Jonah Kautu Jnr (five-eighth), Jackson Pato (second five), Morea Pease (centre), Hubert Tseraha, Henry Liliket (wings), Tisa Kautu (fullback).
Solomon Islands Squad not available
These two teams have meet previously on three occasions.
01.12.2011 Papua New Guinea 33-15 in Port Moresby (Oceania Cup)
12.12.2007 Papua New Guinea 49-6 in Port Vila (Oceania Cup, East Zone)
13.08.2005 Papua New Guinea 45-7 in Honiara (WCQ Oceania, Round 1A)
Prediction: PNG by 40 points.