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Vito joins NZ Sevens squad for Hong Kong and Adelaide

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allblacks.com     23 Mar 2009     Getty Images

Coach Gordon Tietjens named Vito in his 12-man squad which will leave for Hong Kong this evening.

He will join Tim Mikkelson, who has been released from the Chiefs’ wider training group pending any injuries in the Chiefs’ squad after today’s Rebel Sport Super 14 clash against the Blues. If cleared, Mikkelson will travel to Hong Kong early next week.

The only new cap in the squad is Auckland’s Jordan Puletua who will make his New Zealand Sevens debut if he takes the field in either Tournament.

Tietjens said he was delighted that the Hurricanes had agreed to make Vito available given the importance of these two tournaments to New Zealand’s prospects in the World Series.

“It was disappointing for everyone that Victor wasn’t able to take part the way we all would have liked in Dubai because of his calf injury. But he has come through that and we expect he will be fully prepared and ready to go by next weekend.”

He also appreciated the Chiefs releasing Mikkelson after he had been earlier called up to the main Chiefs’ squad as injury cover.

“There is a lot riding on these next two weekends as there are extra points on offer in Hong Kong, and we are only one win away from challenging for the Series lead. We are very grateful to the Hurricanes for releasing Victor and the Chiefs for allowing Tim to join us, which is a huge help given all the injuries we have been hit with so far this year.”

The squad is: Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), DJ Forbes (Captain, Counties Manukau), Paul Grant (Otago), Nigel Hunt (Bay of Plenty), Zar Lawrence (Bay of Plenty), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Jordan Puletua (Auckland), Lote Raikabula (Manawatu), Julian Savea (Wellington), Ben Souness (Taranaki), Chad Tuoro (Counties Manukau), Victor Vito (Wellingon).

Four players were not considered due to injury. They were Edwin Cocker (broken leg), Willie Rickards (hamstring), Tu Umaga Marshall (back) and Viliame Waqaseduadua (concussion).

Counties Manukau’s Tim Nanai Williams and North Harbour’s Nafi Tuitavake have been selected in the training squad for the New Zealand Under 20 team to be announced next week.

The Hong Kong and Adelaide tournaments will both be held over three days on March 27-29 and April 3-5 respectively.