Two Cook Islanders have been named in the World Cup Nines team of the tournament.
Paul Ulberg was named in the men’s World Cup Nines team of the tournament. Ulberg featured for the Cook Islands at the Nines, which was played last week.
Former national women’s rep Kiana Takairangi was named in the women’s team of the tournament. Takairangi, the sister of Brad Takairangi, featured for New Zealand at the Nines.
Ulberg was instrumental for the Cook Islands side and featured strongly in the surprising win against the Tonga on Thursday. Cook Islands lost to Samoa before beating Fiji and were unable to make the semi-finals. Australia won the men’s competition.
In lead up to the Nines, NRL.com rated winger Ulberg as one of the players to look out for in the tournament.
It said the 23-year-old had a busy Intrust Super Cup season at North Devils, with 12 tries in 23 games and a massive 124 tackle busts (more than five per game). He topped 150 metres 10 times this year. Also scored a hat-trick in the Kukis’ 66-6 demolition of South Africa in their mid-year World Cup qualifier.
Kiana, who made her Cook Islands debut at the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup, played her first match for New Zealand this year.
She was crucial in Kiwi Ferns’ memorable victory at the Nines, upsetting favourites Australia 17-15.
The men’s World Cup Nines team of the tournament also comprised some big names. Player of the tournament Mitchell Moses was joined by Josh Addo-Carr, David Fifita, Jamayne Issako and Shaun Johnson in the side.
Samoan duo Danny Levi and Jarome Luai and Lebanon’s Reece Robinson were also included.
Moses was outstanding for Australia, setting up four tries and scoring four of his own across the two-day tournament, showing he can perform on the big stage.
-Additional reporting from Fox Sports
World Cup Nines team
Men – Mitchell Moses (AUS), Josh Addo-Carr (AUS), David Fifita (AUS), Jamayne Isaako (NZ), Shaun Johnson (NZ), Danny Levi (SAM), Jarome Luai (SAM), Reece Robinson (LEB), Paul Ulberg (CKI)
Women – Raecene McGregor (NZ), Kiana Takairangi (NZ), Honey Hireme (NZ), Georgia Hale (NZ), Ali Brigginshaw (AUS), Keeley Davis (AUS), Jessica Sergis (AUS), Caitlin Beevers (ENG), Rhiannon Marshall (ENG)