13 Aug 2015

Sport: Kukis may be forced to find opponents

11:42 am on 13 August 2015

Cook Islands Rugby League say it may be forced to search for new opponents if they can't persuade their Pacific neighbours to include them in future international matches.

The Cook Islands were one of five Pacific countries to contest the last World Cup but face a winner-takes-all playoff against Tonga in October to secure their spot in the 2017 event.

The Cook Islands team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

The Cook Islands team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The annual Pacific Test programme has been running for three years but the Kukis have so far missed out, with Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea all featuring in games.

The President of Cook Islands Rugby League, Charles Carlson, says if the other Pacific countries won't play them they will have to find teams that will.

"That's an issue that's been addressed at the International Rugby League Federation - I do know that they're coming up with a calendar leading up to the next World Cup. We've got a good squad - we participated in the World Cup and we've proven we will be competitive. If that's the case we will have to look at countries like perhaps Italy and USA and other nations if it comes to that".