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Defending Nines Champions, the Arorangi Bears, are set to be joined by six other clubs at the annual Cook Islands Rugby League Nines tournament this January.

The ‘Nines in Paradise’ tournament will take place at the National Stadium in Nikao on January 8 and 9 and will feature both Men’s and Women’s divisions.

In the Men’s, the Bears will be joined by clubs from across Rarotonga and the Pa Enua, including the Titikaveka Bulldogs, Tupapa Maraerenga Panthers, Avatiu Eels, Aitutaki Sharks, Ngatangiia – Matavera Sea Eagles and Takuvaine Warriors, whilst in the Women’s will be looking to grow from last year’s two entries.

The tournament will also serve as the official kick-off to the Cook Islands Rugby League season, which is set to be one of the biggest on record, both domestically and internationally.

On the domestic front, the Cook Islands Rugby League will be looking to add a Women’s thirteen-a-side competition to its strong Men’s competitions, whilst on the International front, both the Kukis (Men’s) and Moanas (Women’s) national teams will take part in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

In the 2020 Cook Islands Nines, the Arorangi Bears defeated Avatiu Eels 10 – 0 to win the Men’s title, whilst in the Women’s, Town defeated Country 2 – 1 in the best of three series.