Blow for NZ Sevens as Halai ruled out
The leading try-scorer in the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series, Frank Halai, has been ruled out of the upcoming Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens with a hamstring injury.
The loss of Halai is a major blow for New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens, who must also make do without forward Solomon King and playmaker Toby Arnold.
Tietjens has named one debutant in his side to compete in the Hong Kong and Japan rounds of the World Series, 19 year old Auckland player Lolagi Visinia.
Waikato’s Joe Webber has also been recalled to the squad as cover for Arnold, who suffered a knee injury during the Hertz Sevens in Wellington.
“We currently lead the Series ladder, but we know there are a few teams very close behind us so we’ll need to be at the top of our game for this leg," said Tietjens, who is eying his 10th World Series crown.
“We are really looking forward to heading to Asia. Hong Kong is a favourite tournament of ours and we always get well supported there.
"This will also be the first time (since 2002) we have played in Japan where rugby is really growing in popularity.”
The New Zealand Sevens team will play pool games against South Africa, Wales and USA at the So Kon Po Stadium
They will be wearing black arm bands during the Hong Kong tournament as a mark of respect for former All Black and New Zealand Rugby Union Chairman Jock Hobbs, who passed away in Wellington earlier this week.
New Zealand Sevens Squad: Tomasi Cama, DJ Forbes, Bryce Heem, Mark Jackman, Tim Mikkelson, Waisake Naholo, Kylem O’Donnell, Charles Piutau, Lote Raikabula, Ardie Savea, Lolagi Visinia, Joe Webber
Video: The story of the season so far
22-24 March 2013
Venue: Hong Kong Stadium
City: Hong Kong