This after Tonga, Fiji and Samoa failed to register their teams in the Pacific Qualifiers last week for a spot in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup to be held in Australia.
The national side took the sixth spot in the World Cup which will also have Australia, New Zealand, England, Papua New Guinea and Canada competing.
Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said they were excited with the prospect of competing in this historic tournament.
He said they have started their preparation to ensure they fielded a formidable side in the World Cup.
“This is a milestone for the Cook Islands having the first CI Rugby League women qualify for the Rugby League World Cup 2017,” Carlson said.
“Preparations start now for the World Cup with fundraising and sponsors to assist with our women’s team to ensure a successful Word Cup campaign.”
Carlson said their participation in past World Cups had taught them some valuable lessons and they were keen to put on a better show in the upcoming edition.
“We have learned some valuable lessons from the World Cup 2013 and even our World Cup qualifying for the men’s last year against Tonga.
“We want to make sure that we don’t repeat those mistakes again and getting our women into the World Cup is a result of that!”
Despite an easy route to the World Cup, the team was disappointed with the non-participation of other Pacific teams in the qualifiers.
“The girls were quite disappointed in a way because we were all very well prepared for this game when we found out that the other three teams had defaulted the game,” Carlson told Radio New Zealand.
“We still got dressed and turned up to the field and just announced to the girls that we weren’t playing, but we had the two officials from the Rugby League International Federation to confirm that Cook Islands has been appointed as the sixth placing on the World Cup.”
Cook Islands women had beaten their Fijian counterparts in a warm up two weeks ago.
“This was a very short notice and I can understand where the other teams are coming from, with no finance to assist with the games. We basically had to look for sponsors and do a bit of quick fundraising to get our girls together,” he said.
The six participating teams in the World Cup will tussle in two pools with the preliminary rounds and semi-finals to be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla, Sydney, and the final to be contested as a double-header with the men’s final in Brisbane on December 2, 2017.