2 Dec 2010

Cook Islands happy to avoid big guns at Rugby League World Cup

2:56 pm on 2 December 2010

The Cook Islands say they're happy to have avoided the big guns at the announcement of the draw for the next Rugby League World Cup in 2013.

The Cook Islands missed out on the 2008 tournament after bowing out in qualifying and have been drawn in Group D alongside Wales and an Atlantic qualifier - which will come from either Jamaica, South Africa or the United States.

The President of the Cook Islands Rugby League Federation, Charles Carlson, says it makes life a little easier knowing they don't have to contend with the likes of a Benji Marshall or Billy Slater in pool play.

"It's cause for a big celebration for us because it's always been out goal to qualify for the world cup and that's a big achievement for a small nation like the Cook Islands. And now it gives us an extra three years to plan for it and make sure we're successful at it. I thought that was a good draw and not being lined up with the big guns like the Kiwis and Australia. And of course playing against the combined host nation Wales, it's a privilege for us to play against them."

Australia heads pool A alongside hosts England, Ireland and Fiji, while Papua New Guinea have been drawn to play Samoa, France and the reigning world champions New Zealand.

Tonga have also secured their place at the tournament.