Blues wing Waisake Naholo and Wider Training Group player Pita Ahki have been named in the All Blacks Sevens squad to trial for the team that will compete in the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow in late June.
The squad, which will assemble in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday 4 June for a three day trial, is:
Pita Ahki (North Harbour)
Toby Arnold (Bay of Plenty)
Kurt Baker (Taranaki)
Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)
Scott Curry (Manawatu)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)
Bryce Heem (Tasman)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay)
Rocky Khan (Auckland)
Fritz Lee (Counties Manukau)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki)
Patrick Osborne (Canterbury)
Lote Raikabula (Wellington)
David Raikuna (North Harbour)
Trinity Spooner-Neera (Hawke’s Bay)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Belgium Tuatagaloa (Canterbury)
The squad includes 14 players who took part in the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series. Ben Lam was not considered because of injury.
“We’ve called on a core group of players who excelled during the recent series as well as others who have played in previous seasons,” said Gordon Tietjens.
“We have also been able to include three players from Investec Super Rugby wider training groups, two of whom have played well for the All Blacks Sevens before.
“Competition for the final 12 places will be tough and it won’t be an easy decision. The World Cup only comes around once every four years so it’s one tournament every sevens player really wants to play in. We haven’t won since 2001 so we certainly have our sights on doing well in Moscow.”
“It’s also a really important step in our journey to Rio in 2016 so we will be working hard to make sure our preparation is right and that our players have the physical and mental toughness to do well in a pinnacle event.”