Kayal Iro: Head Coach's nephew makes NRL debut ahead of Cook Islands' World Cup campaign

30 Aug 2022

Kayal Iro: Head Coach's nephew makes NRL debut ahead of Cook Islands' World Cup campaign

Cook Islands coach Tony Iro has a brand new NRL first grader to call upon for the World Cup - his nephew.

Kayal Iro, 22, made his debut for Cronulla on Saturday in a 16-0 win over Canterbury at Shark Park, drawing comparisons with another man uncle Tony may have at his disposal in England, Aussie international Valentine Holmes.

Kayal’s 80 minutes for the Sharks included 26 touches and 12 tackle breaks with no missed tackles. He made a few fumbles but missed no tackles, his inclusion forcing New Zealand international Ronaldo Mulitalo to switch to the other flank.

“Kayal Iro, a rookie, has outplayed Josh Addo Carr,” one fan Tweeted. “Kayal Iro = young Val Holmes” said another. 

Son of former Wigan and Manly star Kevin “The Beast” Iro, Kayal played for the Kukis in the 2019 World Cup Nines, scoring two tries against Tonga.

He had earlier appeared in the mid-season Test against South Africa and this year turned out against Samoa.

After stints with New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights, Kayal was overcome during the last week when it was confirmed he would be playing against the Bulldogs.

Cronulla’s social media team caught him breaking down as he conveyed the news to his proud parents.

Tony Iro is now waiting on Holmes (Australia) to decide between the Kukis and his tier one countries of eligibility. They open their campaign against PNG at Warrington on October 25.

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