The 2020 rugby union season is all set to start this weekend with a preseason competition which will be played under a new format.
In the recent past, Sevens tournaments were used as preseason warm up for participating clubs.
But this year, the Cook Islands Rugby Union will run Town versus Country 15s competition between teams from age group to Senior A divisions, starting this Saturday at Raemaru Park in Arorangi.
The season proper will kick off on July 25.
The Town team will comprise of players from Tupapa, Takuvaine and Avatiu while players from Arorangi, Titikaveka and Ngatangiia will form the Country side.
Ben Koteka, Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager, said: “This will be a festival of rugby, an opportunity to launch our 2020 season, for all the rugby family, kids, adults and oldies (men & women), to come together as one during this time of Covid-19, to enjoy the sport that we all love called rugby!”
Cook Islands Rugby Union president Simiona Teiotu said the teams were looking forward to the season after it was delayed due to the Covid-19 related restrictions.
Temporary ban on contact sports which includes rugby union was lifted by the Cabinet last month.
Teiotu said: “Because of Covid-19 all clubs just want to have some rugby activity to start before the proper season kick off.
“Cook Islands Rugby Union is delighted to commence the season after a long wait for approval from Te Marae Ora. Also the players and clubs have been looking forward some active rugby to start.”
Meanwhile the day long Rippa Rugby at Raemaru Park-Arorangi Sport Field tomorrow will set the scene for the preseason opener.
The Rippa Rugby will have all the primary schools around the island competing.
Simiona Teiotu said a minute silence would be observed during the event opening to show “respect to our Te Marae Ora staff for the support during this Covid-19 and remember those around the world going through this hard time and those who have passed on”.