All Blacks Sevens name team for Gold Coast
All Blacks Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has named his first squad of 12 to compete at the Gold Coast Sevens, the opening round of the new HSBC Sevens World Series.
Tietjens is taking a mix of seasoned campaigners and exciting new and unknown talent to Australia for the event on 13-14 October.
Once again the All Black Sevens will be led by captain DJ Forbes, who has able deputies in Lote Raikabula, Tim Mikkelson and reigning IRB Sevens Player of the Year, Tomasi Cama.
Mark Jackman and Kylem O'Donnell also have prior experience of life at the top level, but the other names have little or no track record on the World Series.
"We've been working hard in the camp this week to come up with the right mix for the Gold Coast and I think we have a great blend of experience and new blood in this team," said Tietjens, who has to do without the likes of Frank Halai, Solomon King, Joe Webber, Charles Piutau and is still waiting for Toby Arnold and Scott Curry to return from injury.
"Make no mistake, this will be a tough tournament for us and we are certainly realistic about our prospects.
"The first outing of the series is always a time when you feel your way to an extent with new players and new combinations.
"But I know the guys have trained hard this week and even though some in the team are relatively new to Sevens, I'm sure they'll play their hearts out as always when they pull on the black jersey next week."
All Black Sevens: Tomasi Cama, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes (c), Iopu Iopu, Mark Jackman, Warwick Lahmert, Tim Mikkelson, Kylem O'Donnell, Lote Raikabula, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Gareth Williams-Spiers, Jamie Verran