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Tuesday 6 December 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in League, Rugby Union, Sports


Moana through to Women’s 2025 Rugby League World Cup
Cook Islands Moana perform the pre match haka against Australia yesterday. 22110202

Cook Islands Moana have automatically qualified for the Women’s 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

According to a statement all eight competing women’s teams at the recently concluded World Cup – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cook Islands, England, France, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – automatically qualify for France 2025.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said: “This is good news for our women’s who automatically qualify for WC2025.”

“Their performance at the World Cup was exceptional considering the many serious injuries we had in the first game. To come up with a win over France, a power house in the European competition is a great achievement for Cook Islands.

“We beat England in 2017, France in 2022 so can only improve to take on the Kiwis and Jillaroos in 2025.”

Up to 19 nations will be involved in World Cup qualifying matches for the remaining eight women’s berths in France – the first time a qualifying process has been in place for Women’s teams.

Carlson said Tonga, Samoa and Fiji will be battling it out for the two spots in the region.

“Having two more Pacific teams in the WC2025 will provide some tougher opposition.”

Meanwhile the Cook Islands men’s side will take on the winner of the 2023 Middle East Africa Cup for a spot in the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

The men’s 2025 Rugby League World Cup will feature six teams from Asia-Pacific, six from Europe, two from the Americas and one from Middle East Africa, organisers have confirmed.

The final place will be decided by an inter-regional repechage between Cook Islands and the winner of the 2023 Middle East Africa Cup, which will be contested by Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

Carlson said: “We need more competition at this level especially playing against the best in the world. At this level we need to change our mindset and approach from a professional level. These are fully professional teams we are dealing with compared to our handful of professional players. We can only go so far and will eventually get exposed as we did with Tonga (in the World Cup). They had another dozen fully professional players to call on when needed and we had to call on lower grade players to fill in if required.

“One thing we need to understand is it’s one thing to qualify for the World Cup, it’s another to make sure we are competitive at this level.”