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Tough pool for 7s team

Saturday 26 March 2011 | Published in Regional

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The Cook Islands rugby sevens to the Adelaide tournament has been finalised with eight local based players named in the squad.

The 12-man team will be captained by veteran forward Ashley Drake of Horowhenua, New Zealand.

Leading local sevens forward Sailosi Nagi will want to continue his fine form displayed at the Wellington tournament last month.

Utility-back Conrad Piri makes a welcome return after a three year absence from the national team.

Five players will make their international debut in Adelaide including forwards Teina Savage and Ben Enoka, wingers Tai Joseph and Arthur Mui, and 20-year-old halfback Teariki Tou.

Joseph (19) is the youngest member of this team.

With the recent omission of a local player and the unavailability of other reserves, veteran Turori Matutu has been recalled to the team this week as a utility back/forward.

This was after Matutu had earlier declared himself unavailable for the Adelaide campaign due to work commitments.

The Rarotongan contingent departs for Adelaide on Monday.

The IRB Adelaide Sevens Tournament will be played on April 2 and 3.

In a 16-team tournament the Cooks have been seeded in pool A together with New Zealand, Kenya and Wales.

The Cook Islands squad members are Ashley Drake (Horowhenua), Koiatu Koiatu (Perth), Arthur Mui (Auckland), Ben Enoka (Canterbury), Tai Joseph, Turori Matutu, Conrad Piri, Teina Savage from the Tupapa club, Clive Nicholas and Duane Gukisuva of the Avatiu club, Teariki Tou (Titikaveka) and Sailosi Nagi (Ngatangiia).

The management team includes head coach Ramsey Tomokino, manager Brent Matchett, physio LeeVan Santos and trainer Dave Wildash.