|Rugby union in the Cook Islands|
Kenya playing the Cook Islands at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
|Governing body||Cook Islands Rugby Union|
|National team(s)||Cook Islands|
|First played||Early 20th century|
Rugby union in the Cook Islands is a popular sport.It is a tier three rugby playing nation. They began playing international rugby in 1971 and have yet to make the Rugby World Cup. They are currently rated 55th, with 2,258 registered players and 21 clubs.
The Cook Islands Rugby Union was founded in 1948, and affiliated to the IRFB in 1995.The Cook Islands Rugby Union are also members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance.
As with many Pacific Island nations, rugby has been the main sport since the early 20th century. Visiting ships from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Japan, have kept the game going.However, Cook Island rugby has mostly taken the form of an informal folk sport until recently. In the 1990s, Anthony Turua played a major part in formalising the situation, and getting the national side up to standard. Although they did not manage to get into the Rugby World Cup, the Cook Islands have done well in a tough rugby region, and managed to beat Papua New Guinea. As with several of the Pacific Nations, the Cook Islands have tended to do best at rugby sevens.
The Cook Islands have suffered a problem common to many other surrounding nations such as Samoa; with potential players opting to play for bigger nations. Both brothers Graeme and Steve Bachop were eligible to play for the Cook Islandsbut chose to play for their country of birth New Zealand.
The Cook Islands national rugby union team began playing international rugby union in 1971. Thus far, the Cook Islands have not made an appearance at any of the Rugby World Cups. They are very far from the level of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. They can also supply players for the Pacific Islanders team.
The Samoa national rugby union team represents Samoa in men's international rugby union and it is governed by the Samoa Rugby Union. The name Manu Samoa is in honour of a famous Samoan warrior. They perform a traditional Samoan challenge called the siva tau before each game. Samoa Rugby Union were formerly members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Tonga. They are ranked 15th in the world.
The Fiji national rugby union team represents Fiji in men's international rugby union competes every four years at the Rugby World Cup, and their best performances were the 1987 and 2007 tournaments when they defeated Argentina and Wales respectively to reach the quarterfinals. Fiji also regularly plays test matches during the June and November test windows. Fiji also plays in the Pacific Tri-Nations, and has won the most Pacific Tri-Nations Championships of the three participating teams.
New Zealand Māori rugby league team is a rugby league representative side made up of New Zealand Māori players. The side represents the New Zealand Māori Rugby league. Like its union counterpart, the rugby league team competes in international competitions.
The Cook Islands national rugby league team has been participating in international rugby league football competition since 1986. The team is controlled by the governing body for rugby league in Cook Islands, Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA), which is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC). They are currently ranked 23rd in the RLIF World Rankings.
The Niue Island national rugby union team is the national team of the third tier rugby union playing nation of Niue Island. The team first started playing in 1983 in mainly competes in the Oceania Cup, which it won in 2008. Rugby union in Niue Island is administered by the Niue Rugby Football Union.
The Tahiti national rugby union team is a third tier rugby union team, representing the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France. They first played in 1971 and have played numerous games to date, most against rivals Cook Islands and several against Niue. Other games have been played against Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. France played a match against Tahiti at the end of their 1979 tour and won 92–12. Plans to have annual "test" match series against Pacific island neighbours, New Caledonia have been put on hold, due to time, availability, finances, and coaching and refereeing resources. They have yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. Rugby union in Tahiti is administered by the Fédération Tahitienne de Rugby de Polynésie Française. Currently, players who have represented or played for the Tahiti national rugby team, are eligible to represent France. However, playing at a professional level can only enable this. At present there are several Tahitian professional rugby players abroad in France's Top 14 and Pro D2 professional competition.
The Cook Islands is a third tier rugby union playing nation. They began playing international rugby in the early 1971. Thus far, the Cook Islands have not made an appearance at any of the World Cups.
Rugby union is a moderately popular sport in Canada; it is quite strong as a participation sport, particularly in several hotspots like British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and Ontario but does not attract the same level of spectator support yet, likely because the CFL's popular brand of Canadian Football is still similar to rugby in many ways, whilst also being the dominant football code in the country. Rugby Canada is the administrative body for rugby union in Canada. Every province also has its own union.
Rugby union in Samoa is the country's most popular sport. The national teams in both the standard 15-man game and rugby sevens are consistently competitive against teams from vastly more populous nations.
Rugby union is the national sport of Tonga. Tonga are considered to be a tier 2 rugby nation by the International Rugby Board.
Rugby union in Fiji is a popular team sport and is considered to be the national sport of the country. The sport was introduced to Fiji in the 1880s. Fiji is defined as a tier two rugby nation by World Rugby. The national team has competed at the Rugby World Cup and made it as far as the quarter finals. Their sevens team is also noted for their success, and have won the Rugby World Cup Sevens twice and the World Rugby Sevens Series three times.
Papua New Guinea is a tier three rugby union playing nation. They began playing international rugby union in 1966 and have yet to make the Rugby World Cup. Teams from Papua New Guinea have competed in the Commonwealth games.
Rugby union is the national sport in Tonga. Sumo has a following, while football, judo, surfing, volleyball, and cricket have gained popularity in recent years. Rugby league and Australian football are also played.
Rugby league is the national sport and most popular sport in the Cook Islands, with soccer and rugby union as the next most popular/played sports. In September 2009, the Cook Islands hosted the 2009 Pacific Mini Games. Cook Islands Sports National Olympic Committee is the official governing body of sport in the Cook Islands. www.cookislandssports.com
Rugby union in French Polynesia, particularly on the main island of Tahiti, is a popular team sport. Rugby union was first introduced by British, Kiwi and Australian sailors, and also through the French and the strong presence of the game amongst Pacific Nations. Top Tahitian clubs participate in the domestic club league, the Championnat de Tahiti. Clubs also competed in friendlies vs foreign club teams from neighboring nations as far across the Pacific to Chile.
The 2009 Pacific Cup, known as the 2009 SP Brewery Pacific Cup due to sponsorship, was a rugby league competition held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The competing teams were the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.
The Oceania Women's Sevens is the regional championship for women's international rugby sevens in Oceania. The tournament is held over two days, typically on a weekend. It is sanctioned and sponsored by Oceania Rugby, which is the rugby union governing body for the region.
The Cook Islands compete as a part of netball's Oceania region. More than 1,000 players have registered to play the sport. Participation in the game grew during the 1970s. Much of this is possible because of the national governing organisation, the Cook Islands Netball Association which is a member of Oceania Netball Federation. Because of the level of organisation and the game's development, the country has participated at several international events including the Pacific Games, the Commonwealth Games, the World Games, the Oceania Netball Tournament, the World Youth Netball Championship, and the International Challenge Men's and Mixed Netball Tournament. A demonstration of the Cook Islands success can be found by looking at the national team: It is one of the top ranked in the world.
The 2014 IRB Pacific Nations Cup, was the ninth edition of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup, the annual Tier 2 Rugby union tournament. Unlike previous competitions, the tournament was divided into two conferences of three teams each, with no interconference matches. Samoa emerged as the winner of the Pacific Islands conference title ahead of Fiji and Tonga, while Japan took out the Asia/Pacific conference remaining undefeated ahead of United States and Canada.
Solomone Kata is a professional rugby union footballer who plays for the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby.