Injuries have forced New Zealand to make two further changes to their squad to contest the Las Vegas sevens tournament this weekend.
Outside backs Sherwin Stowers and Joe Webber have both been ruled out of the tournament and are replaced by two seasoned sevens performers – Waisake Naholo and David Raikuna.
It continues a disrupted preparation for coach Sir Gordon Tietjens, who must also do without veteran playmaker Tomasi Cama, who suffered a calf muscle injury at training.
Last week Auckland’s Akira Ioane had to withdraw from what would have been his first tournament after failing to obtain the required travel documents.
Tietjens has ended up with a large team physically, which he says will suit the unusually narrow field used in Las Vegas.
He is determined that New Zealand end their poor record in the city, where they are yet to win a tournament in five attempts.
New Zealand hold a narrow series lead on 58 points after three rounds of the nine-round world series. South Africa are second (56), followed by Fiji (48) and England (40).
Tietjens’ men won the opening tournament in Australia but Fiji and South Africa tasted success in Dubai and Port Elizabeth respectively last month.
Las Vegas is a three-day tournament.
New Zealand play Australia and Scotland on Friday before facing Fiji and contesting the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Squad: DJ Forbes (capt), Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, Bryce Heem, Mark Jackman, Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson, Lote Raikabula, Waisake Naholo, George Tilsley, David Raikuna