World Cup Wednesdays: Tetevano looking to gain bragging rights in Rhinos World Cup battle

Cook Islands perform their Pe'e before the clash with Tonga in 2013.

Each Wednesday in the build up the 2021 Rugby League World Cups, we will have a special feature as we build up to the biggest ever World Cup in the game’s history looking at those who helped create the legacy and who will be aiming to make their own history this Autumn.

New Leeds Rhinos signing Zane Tetevano revealed last week when he arrived at Emerald Headingley that is considering a switch back to the Cook Islands for the 2021 World Cup in England which will set up some mouth watering clashes for Leeds Rhinos fans to look forward to. 

The Cook Islands are in the same pool as Rhyse Martin’s Papua New Guinea and Konrad Hurrell’s Tonga side with bragging rights up from grabs in the Emerald Headingley dressing room. 

Tetevano played for the Cook Islands at the 2013 World Cup in England before switching to New Zealand in 2019 to play against Austalia and Great Britain. 

Tetevano was raised by his Cook Islander grandparents and he has revealed that he would like to represent his ancestral homeland again this year.

He said: “I just want to do my best for the club and I will leave that until the end of the year but, if I was to pick a team, it would probably be the Cook Islands.

“Going back to 2013, we didn’t do too well but as a squad, I think we’ve all grown up and matured and if we had that same team, then I think we’d do pretty well. First and foremost I want to do well for the club and leave that stuff until the end of the year.”

In 2013, the Cook Islands suffered a shock loss to the USA as well as a narrow win over Wales and defeat to Tonga. That game saw Tetevano go up against Hurrell and eight years later, the clash will take place again on 7th November at Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium. 

Tetevano has joined a Cook Islands WhatsApp group that includes Hull KR’s new signing Brad Takairangi and Brisbane Broncos captain Alex Glenn. He is predicted the small island nation will give a much better account of themselves this time around. He commented, “I feel like we can do a job at the end of the year.

“My grandparents are from Mangaia. My nan and grandad are Cook Islanders and I was raised on my Cook Islands side which is my dad’s side.

“All the Pacific nations like Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea – they are all capable to be of that level with Tonga. I remember watching the Tonga game against Australia which was amazing for all the Pacific nations.”

Tue 26 October – Tonga v Papua New Guinea, Totally Wicked Stadium, 7.30pm

Wed 27th October – Wales v Cook Islands, Leigh Sports Village, 7.30pm

Mon 1 November – Tonga v Wales, Totally Wicked Stadium, 7.30pm

Tue 2 November – Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands Halliwell Jones Stadium 7.30pm

Sun 7 November – Tonga v Cook Islands, Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, 2.30pm

Mon 8 November – Papua New Guinea v Wales, The Keepmoat Stadium, 7.30pm

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