New Zealand Sevens squad named     21 Nov 2008    

New Zealand are the defending series champions.

The Dubai tournament kicks off the international Sevens season, which includes eight events and the Rugby World Cup Sevens, which is also being held in Dubai at 'The Sevens', a new purpose-built stadium which will be the headquarters for rugby in the region.

Tietjens said he was excited about the new season.

“We enjoyed a really good series last year and the challenge is to back that up again this year with the added interest created by the Rugby World Cup Sevens.”

“We have picked a squad we believe can respond to this challenge which combines some of our really experienced Sevens players with some new, young players who will join the national team for the first time.”

Four players are set to make their New Zealand Sevens debut. They are, 21-year-old Paul Grant from Otago, 20-year-old Kurt Baker from Manawatu, 19-year-old Tim Nanai-Williams from Counties Manukau and the youngest member of the team, 18-year-old Julian Savea from Wellington.

New Zealand Sevens squad for Dubai and South Africa: Kurt Baker (Manawatu), Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau, captain), Solomon King (Bay of Plenty), Zar Lawrence (Bay of Plenty), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Lote Raikabula (Manawatu), Willie Rickards (Southland), Julian Savea (Wellington), Nafi Tuitavake (North Harbour), Paul Grant (Otago), Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties Manukau).

Auckland’s Edwin Cocker and Bay of Plenty’s Nigel Hunt were not considered due to injury.

2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series schedule:
28-29 November 2008 - Dubai
5-6 December 2008 – George, South Africa
6-7 February 2009 – Wellington, New Zealand
14-15 February 2009 - San Diego, USA
27-29 March 2009 - Hong Kong
4-5 April 2009 – Adelaide, Australia
23-24 May 2009 – London, England
30-31 May 2009 – Edinburgh, Scotland.

Rugby World Cup Sevens
5-7 March 2009 – Men’s and Women’s – Dubai