THE Cook Islands emerged the top placed non-core team in the Oceania 7s tournament at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday.
The result has earned the side a place in the Hong Kong 7s tournament next year and improved its bid to qualify for the main HSBC Sevens World Series in future.
The Cook Islands finished fourth in the Oceania 7s losing to Australia 5-49 in the 3rd/4th place playoffs.
Coach Chad Tuoro was overwhelmed with the achievement but indicated a lot more work was needed to make the side competitive in the international 7s circuit.
"We came here to qualify for the Hong Kong 7s and to finish in the first place in the qualifiers is great. It will give us a little bit of easier draw (in the HK 7s) and we are happy," he said.
"We were second qualifiers to Tonga last year and we were able to come first (this year) so we look forward to definitely going to the Hong Kong 7s but a lot of work obviously needs to be done if we want to get some results there."
Tuoro said they were hoping to secure some funds for Hong Kong.