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All Blacks Sevens team for Glasgow and London

allblacks.com     25 Apr 2014    

The team is:

Scott Curry (Manawatu)
Ambrose Curtis (Wellington)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (capt) (Counties)
Bryce Heem (Tasman)
Akira Ioane (Auckland)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke's Bay)
Ben Lam (Auckland)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties)
Joe Webber (Waikato)
Adam Whitelock* (Canterbury)

* new cap

All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes will become the most capped New Zealand player when he takes the field in Scotstoun Stadium on 3 May, earning his 68th cap. He edges out Amasio Valence who retired on 67 caps and Lote Raikabula also on 67.

Forbes made his debut in 2006, and has been a regular member of the team, having also played in two World Cups and one Commonwealth Games. The 31 year old remains on top form, named Player of the Tournament at the recent Hong Kong Sevens.

“DJ seems to be getting better with age,” said Tietjens. “He doesn’t take his position for granted. He is a real warrior. He is in fantastic form at the moment and I am going to look for big things from him these tournaments.”

The team also features the selection of Crusaders wing Adam Whitelock, the only new cap in the side.

“Adam was quite simply outstanding during the trial games this week. He comes with the reputation of being the fittest Crusader and fitness and conditioning are so important at this level. His fitness probably won him his spot. He was just so relentless. He is a very capable player and this gives us more depth as well as being a great opportunity for Adam to pursue a spot in the Commonwealth Games team.”

Two players from the Hong Kong Sevens team, Marty McKenzie and George Tilsley missed selection, as did veteran playmakers Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula.

“Both are tough calls because they have been such great players. That doesn’t rule them out. They tick all the boxes. But this year I am prepared to try a couple of things. We are trying to grow the depth we have and if you have got that depth, you have a lot of strength.”

The All Blacks Sevens currently lead the IRB Sevens World Series by seven points from South Africa and face South Africa and Samoa in pool play in Glasgow.

“I don’t mind tough games in pools because you have to get up for every game. There are no easy games now. If we want to win the World Series we have to beat Samoa and South Africa. Seven points is nothing, you can so easily be overtaken so we take nothing for granted and we really need to do well in Glasgow if we are to win this World Series.”

The team departs for the UK on Sunday 27 April.

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