Wednesday 18 January 2012 | Published in Regional
New faces and names feature in the newly named Cook Islands sevens squad, which will represent the country at the Wellington Sevens tournament on February 3 and 4.
Eight players in the 12-man squad will make their debut in Wellington, standing in for a number of stalwarts who were taken out by injuries.
Although inexperienced, the Cooks squad will not be lacking in ability. It comprises seven New Zealand-based players, namely Ashley Drake, Tiakina Manga, Dexter Moroney, Arthur Mui, Sean Fletcher, Jamie Makara and Jerome Vogel, who join Australia-based players Koiatu Koiatu, Ryan Short, Tai Marsters and Beau Mokotupu in the squad.
Lone Rarotonga-based player Kairan Mahia will also feature in the 12-man squad.
Part of the Cook Islands sevens teams preparation will be to assemble in Auckland on January 27 and play in the Tailevu sevens tournament that weekend.
Before the Wellington tournament the squad will play a number of hit-outs against New Zealand, Australia or Samoa to get up to speed with what is required at this level of competition.
The Cooks, to be led by head coach Ramsey Tomokino, have been drawn in Pool B with South Africa, England and the USA.
The Cooks have beaten England and the USA in previous sevens tournaments.
The full squad includes Ashley Drake (Horowhenua Kapiti), Sean Fletcher (on debut/Auckland), Koiatu Koiatu (Perth), Kairan Mahia (on debut/Rarotonga), Jamie Makara (Auckland), Tiakina Manga (on debut/Horowhenua Kapiti), Tai Marsters (on debut/Sydney), Beau Mokotupu (on debut/Canberra), Dexter Moroney (on debut/Auckland), Arthur Mui (Auckland), Ryan Short (on debut/Brisbane) and Jerome Vogel (on debut/Auckland).
Non-travelling reserves are Junior Napara (Auckland), Trends Poila (Auckland) and Teariki Peneha (Horewhenua Kapiti).
Supporting Tomokino are manager Brent Matchett, physiotherapist Cameron Simmiss and trainer Morna Pulevaka.