Men’s Touch team unfazed by obstacles

Saturday July 13, 2019 Written by Published in Touch Rugby
Some members of the Cook Islands Touch team with students from Arorangi School. 19071219 Some members of the Cook Islands Touch team with students from Arorangi School. 19071219

Cook Islands Touch men’s team will have a limited time to acclimatise to the conditions in Samoa before its opening Pacific Games match on Sunday (CI time).

 

The side will be leaving Rarotonga at midday today with other athletes who are competing at the games next week.

Team coach Geoff Halston said their preparations have not been that ideal “because our arrival time in Samoa is the evening before we play”.

This will also be their first time to assemble as a full squad, Halston added.

However the national side remains unfazed by these setbacks and is raring to put on a good show at the games.

“It is what it is, and so the challenge is going to be managing and moulding the team together during the round robin games, familiarising ourselves with each other's plays, timing and decision making,” Halston said.

“Hopefully by day two or three we will be competitive if we make playoffs.  The approach is definitely to take one game at a time, and build with each other.  “With no training time as a full squad, and the inexperience in the squad, we can’t get too far ahead ourselves.”

With six debutants, Halston said it would be a challenge to grow the confidence and belief in the side.

However he hopes the newcomers will step up to the challenge and do them proud.

“Junior Charlie, pervious sailing representative, Jeremy Campbell, and Tereora College student Delano Atai all have a big future ahead, so we want to foster, develop and create a great team atmosphere that develops them and the other debut players and keep them in the game.

"Hopefully by the middle of the tournament, we can show some big improvements in our decision making under line speed, and defense, which is an area of our game we believe everyone is going to chuck at us, because as Pacific islanders we just have this natural speed, agility and instinctive flair that suits Touch.”

Halston said like the other teams competing at the Pacific Games, their only aim is to win the gold medal.

“The goal is gold, that’s obvious, and that’s every team’s goal there, but with our limited preparations, we will have to take a different mindset.

“The big three nations, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Fiji are all previous gold medal winners and consistent performers at Pacific Games, and they all attended the recent Touch World Cup held in Malaysia in May, so they are technically, mentally and physically well prepared.”

There will definitely be no shortage of Cook Islands pride and leadership experience from Pacific Games veterans Conrad Piri (skipper), Teava Terangi, and Andy Kapi.

“With the right belief, favourable conditions, and team tactical structures, anything is possible,” Halston said.

The open men’s and women’s division play on Sunday and Tuesday before combining to form the mixed division which starts on Wednesday.

“We would like to thank our sponsors, supporters and families for their contribution towards getting us to the Pacific Games.”              

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