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Cook Islands Financial Strife

Source/Author: WeAreRugby | Posted: 12.04.2011

Rugby League administrators in the Cook Islands are still struggling to overcome a significant financial shortfall after New Zealand backed out of a planned one-off Test in Raratonga.

The match was due to have been played in early October in the lead up to the Gillette Four Nations series, but the Kiwis argued that because 29 of their players were unavailable through injuries and other considerations, they had to cancel the game.
Prior to the New Zealand Rugby League making its decision, the Cook Islands Rugby League Federation had already covered the costs of assembling its squad with the understanding that the money would be recouped from revenues earned from the event.
However, according to Cook Islands Federation president Charles Carlson that’s not how things panned out saying, “It’s costing us roughly $40,000 and basically we’ve got no chance of getting that back.”
Carlson went on to say that Rugby League has overtaken Rugby Union in terms of popularity in the Cook Islands and that the event had generated a lot of interest.
The Cook Islands has been slotted into Group D along with the USA Tomahawks and Wales in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
The home team had been looking to use the Test match as an opportunity to experiment with lineups and combinations with one eye on the RLWC.
The Cooks’ only appearance in the Rugby League World Cup was in 2000 when they lost to New Zealand and Wales and tied with Lebanon.
They’re currently ranked #16 in the world behind #6 Wales and #11 USA.