Central Newcastle prop Uiti Baker hopes Cook Islands will have the chance to play at least one Test match before next year's World Cup in England despite the coronavirus crisis already wreaking havoc on the international calendar.
Baker, who recently helped the Pacific country qualify for the 2021 event, would like to see Cook Islands gather together for a game midway through the following season before the tournament starts on October 23.
This prospective fixture could also double as the last chance for Cook Islands players to push their case for selections prior to the upcoming World Cup.
"We usually get a game around rep round, halfway through the [NRL] season," Baker said. "That won't happen this year so hopefully next year. It would pretty much be the last chance for us [to play together] before World Cup selections."
The June 20 clash between Cook Islands and Samoa has already been cancelled.
Efforts are being made to still run the scheduled Oceania Cup, featuring Cook Islands, later this year but doubts remain because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Cook Islands, who defeated the US in Florida in November to book the final World Cup spot, were in January drawn to meet Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Wales during the group stage of the 2021 tournament.
Closer to home, Baker feels that Central's squad was shaping up well for this year's Newcastle Rugby League campaign. The competition, now due to kick-off July 18, remains on hold. A final call will follow a NSWRL review on June 1.
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