27 May 2017

Sport: Cook Islands say door open to former coach

8:34 am on 27 May 2017

Ten months after terminating his contract, the Cook Islands Rugby Union says they are open to the idea of former national captain and coach Stan Wright returning to the fold.

The 38 year-old played professionally for 14 years, including stints in New Zealand, Ireland and France, and captained the Cook Islands in their most recent international, a Rugby World Cup qualifying defeat against Fiji in 2014.

He was appointed men's national head coach in April last year but was sacked in February, after the Cook Islands Rugby Union said he made "misleading and disrespectful comments" about the organisation and its executives.

Former Cook Islands rugby captain and coach, Stan Wright.

Former Cook Islands rugby captain and coach, Stan Wright. Photo: Cook Islands Rugby Union

It said their decision followed "months of Wright's attempt to get rid of the current executive".

Despite saying three months ago that Wright had "crossed the line", the President of the Cook Islands Rugby Union, Moana Moeka'a, was open to reconciliation.

"There's been no communication since we terminated the arrangement with him but we, as the Cook Islands Rugby Union executive, have not ruled him out completely," he said.

"We're still open to the idea that, if there is a possibility of him making a contribution in any aspects of Cook Islands Rugby, then we will look at that and deal with that as that matter arises."

"We really thrashed this out within the executive at the beginning of the year but we just felt that the situation was not in the best interests of (Cook Islands) rugby at that time, thus our decision to terminate our arrangement with him," according to Moeka'a.

"We're open to discussion with him if he wishes to play a further role with the Cooks so...I guess it's up in the air at the moment."

Former national player Wally Tangata was appointed as Wright's replacement and will coach the Cook Islands at the Oceania Cup in August.