14 Oct 2011

Sport: Cook Islands desperate to keep sevens presence

11:37 am on 14 October 2011

The Oceania Sevens Championship is just two weeks away and Cook Islands are eager to seal their spot on the IRB World Series.

The first IRB tournament is six weeks away on the Gold Coast but because they didn't compete at last months Pacific Games in New Caledonia, the Cook Islands didn't get a chance to qualify.

Places in the Wellington and Hong Kong tournaments are up for grabs at the Oceania Champs in Apia and coach Ramsey Tokomino says it's crucial that they maintain a presence on the world circuit.

"When we didn't qualify for Wellington, I think it was 2010, it was the first time the Cooks hadn't been there and all of a sudden people began to realise that the most important tournament for us is the qualifier. If you don't qualify you don't have these opportunities to get out on the international stage. We've shown in the past that we can knock off Australia, we can knock off Tonga. There's no reason why we can't really push and get in there."

Ramsey Tokomino says they will have to be well prepared as not competing at the Pacific Games means they will be playing catch-up.