NZ Emerging Sevens head to Fiji
Twelve players have been selected for the New Zealand Emerging Sevens team which will take part in this weekend's Uprising Sevens tournament in Lautoka, Fiji.
The players were selected from teams which took part in the weekend's Pub Charity National Sevens held in Queenstown and includes four new contracted members of the All Blacks Sevens.
Warwick Lahmert, who was part of the New Zealand side that won the third round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in South Africa, will captain the side selected by Gordon Tietjens.
Tietjens will travel to the tournament in Fiji as technical advisor with New Zealand Women's Sevens coach Sean Horan coaching the side.
"This is an exciting mix of young talent who all played extremely well at the tournament over the weekend," said Tietjens.
"We are keen to use the Fiji opportunity to give some up and coming players a fresh challenge on the international stage which will be great for their development.
"And we have also selected some All Blacks Sevens players which will help their preparation for the next round of the Sevens World Series in Wellington.
"The National Sevens was a terrific success and showed the depth of talent we are developing in this country and that bodes well for our long term strategy of winning gold in Rio."
Tietjens' next challenge after Fiji will be the fourth round of the Series on home soil in Wellington where they are joined by USA, Spain and England in Pool A.
The New Zealand Emerging Sevens team is:
Matt Faddes, Iopu Iopu, Gillies Kaka, Warwick Lahmert (capt), Luke Masirewa, David Raikuna, Trinity Spooner-Neera, Seta Tamanivula, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Beaudine Waaka, William Whetton, Gareth Williams-Spiers
O'Connor forced into two changes
Aussie Thunderbolts' coach, Michael O’Connor, has been forced to make two changes to his squad for the Uprising Sevens.
Charlie Clifton comes in for the injured Jordan Tuapou, while Ben Adams replaces Nick Malouf.
“We’re bringing players back from injury, the likes of Shannon Walker and Lewis Holland are coming back from some time on the sideline,” O’Connor said.
“We’re also blooding new players in an attempt to build our playing depth. Tom Cusack will be playing his first major tournament along with Charlie Clifton.
“Ben Adams returns from almost two years out of the game after suffering a major injury in Samoa in 2011 and I’m pleased he’s worked his way back into the side.
“The Fiji tournament serves two purposes for us, to bring players back from injury and provide them with game time and to further develop the depth in our Men’s side.”
1-2 February 2013
Venue: Westpac Stadium