The men’s side, coached by Vase Samania, took part in the Raro Sevens Tournament over the weekend to get some vital game time ahead of the upcoming event.
The side lost in the plate final to Tupapa Panthers, but Samania wasn’t too concerned about the result.
He was more focused on getting the combination of the players’ right and ensuring they have some match fitness ahead of a tough encounter this weekend.
The national side is grouped with Australia and Vanuatu in Pool C of the tournament.
The tournament provides Cook Islands with a perfect opportunity to qualify for at least one of the tournaments in the HSBC Sevens World Series for 2018/2019.
The first highest-placed non-core team in the 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will (a) qualify as the 16th team to the 2018/2019 HSBC Word Sevens Series Legs in Hamilton (January 26 – 27, 2019) (b) qualify as the 16th team to the 2018/2019 HSBC Word Sevens Series Legs in Sydney (February 2 – 3, 2019) and (c) qualify for the 2020 HSBC Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong (April 5 - 7, 2019).
The second highest placed non-core team, the position Cook Islands attained in last year’s tournament, will qualify for the 2020 HSBC Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile the Cook Islands women’s team will be facing Fiji, New Caledonia and New Zealand in Pool B.
Based in New Zealand, the Brent Kaua-coached team have been training hard for several months.
The side also took part in the Hokkaido Governor’s Cup recently held in Japan which served as a training camp for some of the squad members. In the tournament, the team faced New Zealand, Australia and USA.
Men’s – Stephen Willis (Captain), Teina Savage, Robert Heather, Jamian Iroa, Junior Napara, Matamanea Matapakia, Christian Vainerere, Walter Koteka, Ioane Oopu, Tokerau Raru, Rangi Piri, Tanire Mokoroa
Women’s – Vaine Greig (Captain), Larissa Richardson (Vice Captain), Margarette Nena, Maggie Leota, Saphire Abraham, Elizabeth Pera, Chrystal Leota, Lydia Quedley-Turua, Apii Nicholls, Amina Koiatu, Taria Arere, Wairakau Greig, Chantelle Schofield (non-travelling)