The team, which has enjoyed some good seasons recently, is hoping to become the first national Sevens team to qualify for the event.
National team manager Pandora Fruean said qualifying for the World Cup would no doubt be a game changer for the women’s Sevens programme.
She said it would open up funding streams, sponsorship and a pathway for those wishing to pursue the sport to the highest level.
In order to qualify for the World Cup, the team will need to do well in the Oceania Sevens Championship to be held next month in Fiji.
“Qualification takes place in November at the Oceania Sevens where one more spot is available outside the teams competing that are already qualified such as New Zealand, Australia and Fiji,” Fruean said.
“This spot will be challenged for by our Cook Islands team, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tahiti.”
To qualify for the World Cup meant a great result at Oceania Sevens, said Fruean, adding that to be competitive at Oceania, the team needed a quality build-up to test their players.
“For us this has always been attending the Central Coast Sevens to play against Canada, New Zealand Development teams and a host of other local and regional Australian teams,” she said.
“But, we have a little hurdle in our way. We have found out we are short of funding and now are in scrambling mode to fundraise the $15,000 needed to get the team to both these tournaments.”
The team has set up a GiveaLittle page “Cookislandsrugby7s” and Fruean said every dollar donated will be a huge help to the team.
To help the team there will also be a dinner in Auckland this Friday (CI time) at the Polynesian Centre run by Cook Islands Rugby New Zealand Incorporated.
“We hope you believe in this team too. Please support the Cook Islands Women’s Sevens team to chase this opportunity by supporting our GiveaLittle campaign or attending the dinner.”
In the Oceania Sevens 2015, the national women’s team claimed one of two spots to compete as the Oceania representatives at the Olympic Repechage tournament in Dublin, Ireland where the last spot for the Olympic Games 2016 was up for contention.
Fruean said competing against teams with fulltime athletes, a larger depth of players and bigger budgets was always going to be a challenge.
“For the first time on the international stage the Cook Islands women’s shocked a lot of the bigger and more well-resourced nations, not only did we win some games but we played ourselves into the finals of the Trophy division and came out at the end of it victorious,” she said.
“This international exposure ignited a flame for our women’s team who have since July, 2016 continued to train and improve their fitness and Sevens skills under the expertise guidance of coaches Crystal and Brent Kaua.”
This year the team competed in two New Zealand-based tournaments to keep honing their skills against teams from the New Zealand development squads, Hong Kong and regional teams.
“I must tell you about these women, there are currently 20 of them in the squad and are based in Cook Islands, Australia and New Zealand. They are a dedicated group who want nothing more than to make their country proud, to wear the jersey and leave a legacy for future generations of Cook Islands women Sevens players,” Fruean said.
“This team is made up of women who hold down fulltime jobs, are students, are mothers who everyday get up before work and school to train and do it all again after because they want to get to the land of the Giants at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team and host venue for the World Rugby Sevens World Cup.
“We know the potential is there and we are excited and determined to see it through.”