And ahead of the season openers this week, Cook Islands Rugby Union would like to remind all club coaches and players to school up on their rugby rules before taking to the pitch.
Mouth guards are compulsory for all rugby players in all grades who take to the field. This requirement will be monitored by game referees, who have the power to send players off the field for not wearing the protective mouth gear. Referees will also be coming down harder on players cited for dangerous tackles.
Dangerous tackles include high tackles, dangerous grasping of neck and head area of a player not in possession of the ball and dangerous grasping and holding of the ball carrier above the line of the shoulders.
At an IRB medical seminar held in November 2010 at Lensbury, the results of studies by the Rugby Football Union and New Zealand Rugby Football Union concluded that most injuries in rugby in the elite game were occurring as a result of high tackles.
Local referees will also be brushing up on their officiating skills and how they handle decision-making on the field.
With sponsors on board for the 2015 season and indications from all six clubs on the island that they are rugby ready, the season is set for a smooth start.
Cook Islands Rugby Union is extremely grateful for the support shown towards the code and its development by generous sponsors.
“In order for our local competitions to happen and for our teams to attend overseas tournaments we require the support from the private sector of our community who provide cash or value-in-kind in order for these evens happen,” says CIRU chief executive officer Ben Koteka.
CIRU have a long-term approach to maximising individual, club, schools, international and even gold oldies potential involvement in rugby.
“This long-term approach provides a platform for all stakeholders to encourage and support participants at every level of the rugby pyramid, and our sponsors play a big part in that long-term plan too. The cash and value-in-kind that they provide help to run our competitions or ensure that our teams are prepared – and for that we are truly grateful.”
This season’s major sponsors are The Bond Store (also the main sponsor for the Senior A division), Turtles Tees, Toa Gas (under 19 sponsor) and Matson.
Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruises will sponsor the under 16 division while Palace Takeaways continue grassroots sports sponsorship with the under 14 division.
Telecom Cook Islands/Blue Sky are the Primary Schools Rippa Rugby Tournament sponsors while Cook Islands Printing is the main sponsor of the college rugby sevens tournament.
CIRU would also like to say meitaki maata to fellow family sponsors Edgewater Resort, Air NZ, 88 FM, Cook Islands News and Pitt Media Group.
Round one of The Bond Store Rarotonga Club 15 competition will see the Arorangi Cowboys take on Avatiu at the Swamp, Takuvaine Reds host the Titikaveka Bulls and the Ngatangiia-Matavera Flying Dragons head to Victoria Park to meet Tupapa.
A full draw and referees appointments will be published in tomorrow’s CI News sport pages.