“He has a big future in the sport” – Cook Islands boss Tony Iro on nephew Kayal

Josh McAllister
Kayal Iro Tony Iro Cook Islands

Cook Islands head coach Tony Iro has predicted a big future for nephew Kayal, who is a part of his 24-man World Cup squad.

The 22-year-old made his NRL debut earlier this season with Cronulla Sharks against Canterbury Bulldogs in 16-0 victory.

Having also been a part of the systems at New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights, he is the son of former player Kevin, who featured for the likes of Leeds, Wigan and St Helens across his career, as well as representing both New Zealand and Cook Islands.

Iro featured in the mid-season clash against Samoa as part of the side’s World Cup preparations, and will look to have an impact during the tournament in England.

READ: Cook Islands boss Tony Iro believes six teams could realistically win World Cup

Tony Iro: He’s got a big future ahead of him

“He made his NRL debut this year and he’s got a big future ahead of him,” the Cook Islands boss said.

“He’s a good player. He’s not as fast as his old man, but he’s certainly tougher. He’ll do a good job for us.

“It’s a big family team. We’ve got three sets of brothers in this team and obviously my nephew is playing.

“We’re all related in some way because we’re not a big island. There’s only 12,000 on it. We tend to punch above our weight and hopefully we can do that here in this tournament.”

The Kukis open their campaign against Wales in Leigh on Wednesday, October 19. They will feature in Group D, which also includes Papua New Guinea and the rising Tonga.

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