All Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens has named a squad of 12 players, including three new caps, to take part in the Dubai and Port Elizabeth tournaments in November and December which are the second and third legs of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Tietjens said he was really excited by the blend of experienced hands and exciting new talent in the team.
“We were thrilled to finish runners up at Gold Coast last month despite a pretty inexperienced team so we are certainly feeling good heading into Dubai.
“We’ve got plenty to play for as we didn’t make the final last year and Dubai is always a pretty special World Series tournament. It’s one of my favourites as I have some fond memories from my early days coaching Sevens there and we haven’t won the tournament for some time.
“Last year we bounced back to win at Port Elizabeth, defeating South Africa in a really exciting final so I am sure the hosts will be looking to avenge that loss and we are equally determined to go back-to-back there.
“We’ve had a great week training in the Mount and everyone has worked hard. It’s always a tough call narrowing down the squad, but the depth of talent I’ve seen this week gives me great confidence in the quality of players we will be able to field this season.”
The squad features the recall of current Maori All Black Kurt Baker and Counties Manukau wing Sherwin Stowers. Both are proven try scorers at this level, having played for the All Blacks Sevens in the past, but have spent some time away through injury and Super Rugby commitments.
“While Kurt is offshore with the Maori All Blacks I know he is fit and ready to go. And Sherwin certainly proved to me this week he has the fitness, strength and speed to justify selection. I’m thrilled to have them back in the fold and I am sure they will make a valuable contribution.
“It’s also been really special working alongside Sean Horan and his New Zealand Women’s Sevens team this week and we wish them all the best in Dubai which is the first tournament of the new IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.”
Two players, Toby Arnold and Mark Jackman, were not considered because of injury.
The team is:
Kurt Baker – Taranaki
Tomasi Cama – Manawatu
Scott Curry – Manawatu
Sam Dickson – Canterbury
DJ Forbes (capt) – Counties Manukau
Milford Keresoma – Auckland
Warwick Lahmert – Taranaki
Ben Lam – Auckland
Tim Mikkelson – Waikato
Lote Raikabula – Wellington
Sherwin Stowers – Counties Manukau
Belgium Tuatagaloa – Wellington