25 Mar 2014

Sport: Key players unavailable for Cook Islands 7s

12:47 pm on 25 March 2014

The Cook Islands sevens team will be missing some vital cogs in this weekend's World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

The 12-team event, which also features American Samoa, runs alongside the main Hong Kong Sevens draw, with the overall winner earning a permanent berth on next year's IRB World Series.

The Cook Islands team will be missing long-time skipper Ash Drake and fellow veteran Koiatu Koiatu because of work commitments.

Head coach Chad Tuoro says it's a simple, albeit difficult, equation.

"You've got to be in to win and that's just shown by a lot of the other countries that are involved in our qualifying tournament putting a lot of resources behind them. Japan have made a couple of national players of their fifteens team available and they're playing this weekend over in Tokyo Sevens, and you've got Russia [and] Zimbabwe who are either semi professional, if not full-time, as well as Hong Kong who went professional about halfway through last year in preparation for this."

The Cook Islands are in the same pool as Japan, Uruguay and Trinidad & Tobago.