Experienced sevens squad to prepare for Commonwealth Games
allblacks.com 27 May 2014 allblacks.com
The squad features the inclusion of Highlanders wing Kurt Baker and Blues back Pita Ahki. Both were members of the All Blacks Sevens team that won Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow. Baker was also a member of the gold medal winning Delhi team.
The squad is:
Pita Ahki (North Harbour)
Kurt Baker (Taranaki)
Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)
Scott Curry (Manawatu)
Ambrose Curtis (Wellington)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)
Jack Goodhue (Northland)
Bryce Heem (Tasman)
Akira Ioane (Auckland)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke's Bay)
Ben Lam (Auckland)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Declan O'Donnell (Waikato)
Lote Raikabula (Wellington)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Joe Webber (Waikato)
Adam Whitelock (Canterbury)
The squad will assemble in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday 3 June for a four day training camp. A final team of 12 will be named the following week. The team, plus two reserves will travel the Netherlands in mid-July for a pre-Games training camp which will involve a game against a local selection (still to be confirmed).
Coach Gordon Tietjens said he was keen to send a strong, experienced side to Glasgow for their tilt at a fifth gold medal.
“To go to a Commonwealth Games and do well you need players with experience. I’ve selected three Super Rugby players who have played well for the team. Kurt Baker was important in terms of winning that gold medal in Delhi and Pita Ahki did well for the All Blacks Sevens in Russia so both are fine sevens players. Adam Whitelock was part of the very successful two tournaments in Glasgow and London in the World Series and he has done enough to press for a place to go to the Games as well."
He said competition for the final 12 places would be tough.
“It’s on the wish list for a lot of players to be part of a Commonwealth Games side so no doubt the camp next week will be very fierce in terms of competition and I expect to have a huge headache to pick the 12 players who I think can win us that gold medal, but it’s a pleasant headache to have.
“I am expecting an energised and enthusiastic side when it assembles next week and am looking forward to it.”
The Commonwealth Games sevens competition is being held at Ibrox Stadium on 26,27 July. Find further information here.