Nana Roberts was there on behalf of Enuamanu to receive the balls from BSP business manager Tutu Inamata, with Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) rugby development manager Ben Koteka also in attendance.
Inamata said that BSP has long been committed to helping out the CIRU.
“We sponsor where we can, when we can. When they came through and asked if we could donate some balls, we didn’t hesitate. We were pretty stoked to jump onboard and give what we could,” Inamata said.
“One of our main things is to give back to the community. Also to develop the sport, but more importantly the young people.
“We want them to at least have resources to continue to love it and enjoy it.”
Koteka said that the balls will help the teams prepare for the two-day December tournament, which will begin on the first Friday of the month. The tournament is part of the CIRU vision to strength the grassroots of the game by providing more avenues of competition.
“We’re all about playing in tournaments consistently, like the U15 Condor Sevens every year, and the U18 World Schools,” Koteka said.
He said that they have been looking to plug the gap between ages 15 and 18, and this local tournament is ideal for that.
Come December, Koteka said that it’s likely Westlake, a school on Auckland’s North Shore, plus a girls’ and boys’ team from Kerikeri in Northland, might also attend the tournament.
“There’s an interest building – we just need to ensure that our outer islands don’t get forgotten, that they aren’t left out of the equation.”
Roberts built on that, saying that the balls will be a huge benefit to the outer islands youth, and it will hopefully keep them engaged in the sport.
“This is a great thing for the outer islands boys. With the sevens tournaments coming, it will be a very valuable resource for the teams, and we are so thankful for BSP’s sponsorship.”