NZ RWC Sevens team named     09 Mar 2005

New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens today named the 12-man squad for the tournament which will be held from 18-20 March.

Waikato’s Liam Messam, who missed last month’s IRB Sevens tournament in Los Angeles because of injury, returns and will once again captain the side.

The side includes two Rebel Sport Super 12 players - Rudi Wulf of the Blues and Josh Blackie from the Highlanders. The Chiefs Grant McQuoid was not considered for selection due to a thigh injury suffered in last Saturday night’s Super 12 game against the Crusaders.

“Whilst it is disappointing for Grant he understands that with the intensity of a World Cup he needs to be training at full capacity this week and unfortunately his injury won’t allow him to do this,” Tietjens said.

Tietjens added it was not easy to select the side.

“It was important to get the mix right and I have decided to select an even balance of six forwards and six backs. In the past, I have gone for a split of seven backs and five forwards.

“I’ve gone for big forwards who are all powerful runners with the ball in hand. These guys will ensure we retain possession which is critical in Sevens and ball retention is what we will be focusing on at trainings.”

Wellington's Roy Kinikinilau and North Harbour’s Hayden Reid did not join the training squad in Rotorua yesterday and were not considered for selection because of injury.

The team departs for Hong Kong from Auckland on Sunday 13 March at 9am.

New Zealand team for the RWC Sevens: Orene Ai’i, Isaia Toeava, Amasio Valence (Auckland), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty), George Naoupu (Canterbury), Rudi Wulf (North Harbour), Lifeimi Mafi (Taranaki), Josh Blackie, Edwin Cocker (Otago), Liam Messam (captain, Waikato), Tamati Ellison, Tafai Ioasa (Wellington).