Cook Islands touch players were among the first Team Cook Islands to arrive in PNG to be rested from travel well ahead of their games.
The women’s team, coached by Mark Brown, will face Kiribati first up.
Made up of seasoned touch veterans and young bloods, including Team Cook Islands youngest member in 14-year old Pare Noovao, the women’s touch rugby team were keen to hit the field and face their first opponents.
Coach Brown, also the Finance Minister and former national rep and world cup rep says the touch rugby tournament is not as intense at these games.
“Our games are nicely spread out and we start with just one match on the first day and two on the second so that’s pretty good,” says Brown who adds that touch rugby athletes have trained to cope with two and three games on one day.
He says the aim is to reach top half of the top four to pave an easier road to the top of the touch podium.
However, its one game at a time with the team drilled to play each game like it was the grand finals.
The men’s team, coached by rugby sevens legend Vaivase Samania, will meet their toughest opponents in Papua New Guinea.
Again the men’s team is also a balance of stalwarts and young guns making the Cooks one of the exciting teams in the touch tournament and top medal contenders.
On the morning of the PNG games opening ceremony, the men’s team will play Tuvalu while the women’s team will play two games – the first against Tonga and the second against PNG.
CI News will bring you reports and images from the PNG touch rugby field.