After receiving more than 60 player nominations from across Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands, Tuoro says the team management are very excited about the group of players selected.
From this training squad of 24, the final 12-man team will be selected to represent the Cook Islands and compete for the chance to qualify for the 2014 Hong Kong Sevens tournament and an opportunity to be a core team on the IRB World Sevens Series Circuit. The team is under new management with new coach Tuoro and manager Cam Kilgour looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“Due to our player base spread across three different countries we are at a disadvantage compared to our main opponents,” says Tuoro.
“We have set up a strong training programme and monitoring system for players to adhere to, which we believe will help us achieve our goal of qualifying for Hong Kong in 2014.”
The team’s initial national duty will be to take part in the 2013 Oceania Sevens Tournament to be held in Fiji on October 4 and 5.
Of the 24 players in the training squad, two players namely Teina Savage and Jedrek Engu are from Rarotonga.
Hugh Henry is the sole player in the training squad from Aitutaki, with the remaining players based in New Zealand and Australia.
The 24 national sevens training squad includes – Ashley Drake (Horowhenua/Kapiti), Brook Cowan (Queensland), Harry Berryman (Sydney), Harvard Ioane (Auckland), Graeme Manuatua Long (Brisbane), James Ben Unu (Melbourne), James Iopu-Johnston (Sydney), James Raea (Auckland), Junior Kiria (Auckland), Junior Napara (Auckland), Justin Masters (Melbourne), Kyle Cowan (Queensland), Louis Makuare (Brisbane), Nathan Robinson (South Canterbury), Paulo Leota (Auckland), Teina Savage (Rarotonga), Ioane Ioane (Hawkes Bay) , Mark Ioane (Hawkes Bay), Chay Raui (Auckland), Greg Mullany (Queensland), Royce Teinakore (Hamilton), Iro Teariki (Auckland), Jedrek Engu (Rarotonga) and Hugh Henry (Aitutaki).
Players Unavailable – Koiatu Koiatu, Francis Smith, Issac Tremel and Francis Takiari.